The TUC’s key views on the government’s proposals can be summarised as follows:
The TUC estimates that at least 3.8 million – or one in nine of all workers – are employed in insecure employment – be it agency work, zero hours contracts or low paid self-employment – with job insecurity being a problem in every part of the UK.
Those in insecure work tend to miss out on pay, with zero hours contract workers earning at least a third less than the average employee. They also miss out on key rights at work. The TUC has estimated that at least 1.8 million workers in insecure work are at risk of missing out on key employment rights including rights to:
Such workers lack the basic protections needed to challenge bad treatment in the workplace. And as a result, they miss out on the limited rights to which they are entitled. They are also more vulnerable to bullying and mistreatment in the workplace.
Those in agency work or employed on zero-hours contracts are constantly at the beck and call of employers, often receiving less than a day’s notice of work or finding work is cancelled at similar short notice. Such working practices mean workers bear all the risk of varying demand, whilst employers reap all the financial rewards.
The government’s response to these concerns is to increase transparency in the workplace. But providing workers with more information will not, by itself, change the imbalance of power in the workplace. It will not mean workers have a genuine choice over the type of work they accept or the hours they work. Nor will the proposals meet the government’s stated objective of ensuring that flexibility in the workplace cuts both ways.
For there is nothing in the government’s plans that will:
The TUC believes that the government should deliver a new deal for working people which: