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Taylor Review: Measures to improve transparency in the UK labour market

TUC response to the BEIS consultation
Report type
Consultation response
Issue date
Key findings

The TUC’s key views on the government’s proposals can be summarised as follows:

  • It is welcome the government plans to act on longstanding calls from unions that all workers should have rights to itemised payslips and to a written statement of their pay and conditions from day one of their employment. 
  • The proposed changes to rules on continuous employment similarly represent a step in the right direction, but wider reform is needed to prevent employers from gaming the system to prevent workers from qualifying for statutory rights.
  • But overall the government’s proposals lack ambition and will not address the imbalance of power in the workplace.  The TUC is concerned the proposals will not tackle the problems created by growing insecurity in the UK labour market or prevent the mistreatment and exploitation of working people

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:

  • return to their job after having a baby
  • paid time for union reps to carry out trade union duties, such as representing members and negotiating for better pay and conditions for working people
  • statutory redundancy pay when their work dries up
  • protection from unfair dismissal

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:

  • End the hire and fire culture of zero hours working.
  • Provide working people with guaranteed hours or the security of knowing how much they will be paid each week.
  • Ensure that working people have voice at work.

The TUC believes that the government should deliver a new deal for working people which:

  • Raises the floor of rights for all working people
  • Provides workers with guaranteed hours and increased the predictability over their working hours and their take home pay, so they can plan their lives outside of work
  • Ensures unions can access workplaces to tell people about the benefits of union membership
  • Ensures all working people can have a genuine say over the things that matter to them most in the workplace, by promoting and extending collective bargaining

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