This is not the game-changer needed to end work insecurity – Labour movement reacts to the Taylor review

11th July, 2017 1:18 pm

Figures from across the Labour movement have reacted to the Taylor review into modern employment.

Matthew Taylor, a former policy adviser to Tony Blair, conducted the report on behalf of the government. Theresa May has not pledged any fresh laws to come out of the report.

Jeremy Corbyn said: “The Taylor Report was a huge missed opportunity to tackle the growing problem of insecure employment.

“In Labour’s manifesto ‘For The Many Not The Few’ we set out a 20 point plan to transform the workplace and protect and improve worker’s rights. By abolishing Employment Tribunal fees, scrapping zero contracts and giving rights to all workers from day one, we would halt and reverse the spread of exploitation in the Gig Economy.

“Theresa May says she wants parties to contribute ideas. But when we asked her Government to give its support to Labour’s Queen’s Speech amendment to give millions of public sector workers a much needed pay-rise, the Conservatives voted against it.

“Only yesterday Theresa May delivered a slap in the face to hard working teachers by giving them another real term cut by maintaining the 1 per cent pay cap.

“The Prime Minister now heads a zombie government that has no ideas, no answers and no leadership. Her premiership has run out of steam and she will soon have to deal with her own insecure employment.

“Only a Labour Government can deliver for the many not the few.”

Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the TUC, said: “It’s no secret that we wanted this review to be bolder. This is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity at work.”

“A ‘right to request’ guaranteed hours is no right at all for many workers trapped on zero-hours contracts. And workers deserve the minimum wage for every minute they work, not just the time employers choose to pay them for.”

“But Matthew Taylor is right to call for equal pay for agency staff and sick leave for low-paid workers — something which unions have long campaigned for. The government should move swiftly to implement these recommendations.”

“Theresa May cannot use this report as shield to hide from her responsibilities. We need a proper crackdown on bad bosses who treat their staff like disposable labour. And an end to employment tribunal fees that price workers out of justice.”

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “The recommendations in the Taylor Review show some laudable aims on the surface – and of course any progress in basic employment rights is welcome – but as a whole it’s a disappointing missed opportunity.

“Everyone can pay lip service to wanting good quality, well paid work but employers could offer that right here and now, they simply choose not to. They won’t decide to do so just because they’re asked nicely.”

“The exploitation of insecure workers is a deliberate and a core part of company business models, where any loophole is exploited to pay workers less and make more profit for employers.”

“This isn’t a quirk of the system, this is the system – and without regulation this system will inevitably continue. Even good employers will be forced to adopt these practices in order to remain competitive.”

“Exactly a year ago Theresa May promised a country that works not for a privileged few, but for every one of us.

“If the Government are serious about decent work they need to set about enforcing current laws, making sure companies actually pay their taxes like the rest of us and end the insecure work epidemic that continues to spread like wildfire through the economy.

“Because as the report rightly says, insecure work impacts on all of us – lost tax revenue, chronic mental ill health, inability to plan, save, pay into a pension and in the undercutting of those businesses who do treat people properly.

“The current state of play is transferring risk from employers to the rest of society. We are all paying a price for that.

“This is a missed opportunity to tackle the big picture and radically overhaul the world of work – when at the moment, even the most basic laws are not being enforced.”

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said: “This review raised the prospect that the scourge of insecure working in this country would be tackled. It raised the hope that work would once again pay and there would be no profit in exploitation. It indicated that fairness and dignity would be restored to working life.”

“But it has spectacularly failed to deliver on any of these. The seven pillars of Taylor are very wobbly and tumble to rubble under first scrutiny.”

“The report does nothing to address the rampaging growth in forced self-employment, which has shot up as the government’s austerity programme bites. One in six workers in this country fall into this category, denied sick pay, holiday pay, their basic rights and a pension.”

“Neither will it address bogus self-employment, and the unacceptable use of zero hours and agency work to deny someone a permanent, full-time job.

“Instead of the serious programme the country urgently needs to ensure that once again work pays in this country from Taylor we got a depressing sense that insecurity is the inevitable new norm. We will not accept that.”

“The conspicuous absence of any meaningful role for trade unions – the group leading the fight for justice for insecure workers – is also extremely worrying. It is obvious that the best medicine against bad bosses in strong and active representation at work. This omission by Mr Taylor sadly echoes the Tory view that unions are the enemy within and not, more accurately, that we are the single most important force for good for working people in this country.

“The only ones who will be celebrating the Taylor report are the rogue employers and those who have grown rich on the hard labour of those desperate for employment.

“Unite therefore urges the prime minister to thank Mr Taylor for his efforts but do not let this report travel further than a Westminster filing cabinet or gather dust on a No 10 bookshelf because it will not help you deliver on your stated aim of making working life fairer.

“More and better can and must be done to ensure that, in the fifth largest economy on the planet, working people are granted the dignity and security they deserve. This union will continue that fight.”

Jackie Baillie MSP, Scottish Labour’s economy spokesperson, said: “This report shows the Tories are failing to create an economy that works for ordinary people. Instead, they have presided over a decline in living standards and a huge increase in the numbers in insecure work.”

“This is the result of a Tory government in Westminster attacking workers’ rights with its Trade Union Act and concern only for protecting the privileged few. And in Scotland, we have an SNP government in Holyrood more interested in running a referendum campaign than using the powers of the Scottish Parliament to protect people from austerity.”

“Labour has a plan to do things differently. We would abolish zero hour contracts, ending the scourge of insecure work for millions and create a Real Living Wage of £10 per hour. Only Labour can create an economy that works for the many, not the few.”

Faiza Shaheen, director of think-tank CLASS, said: “The Taylor Review is a missed opportunity to tackle the exploitation and insecurity faced by an increasing number of workers in the UK.

“Unstable incomes, weak or non-existent rights and an imbalance of power between workers and bosses makes the current gig economy unsustainable. Our public services are losing millions in tax through bogus self-employment, and workers can be left struggling to make ends meet if they get sick.

“We are particularly alarmed to see proposals for a new category of worker that would exchange sick pay for a weakening of minimum wage laws, even after recent legal wins against Uber gave workers entitlement to both sick pay and the minimum wage. It feels like a step backwards.

“The only sustainable approach to a rapidly changing world of work is strong trade unions to give workers a voice. We urgently need the introduction of sectoral collective bargaining, so that negotiated terms and pay apply to all workers in a sector.”

Ian Murray, MP for Edinburgh South, said in a statement released by Open Britain: “The Government’s Repeal Bill is a potential threat to Matthew Taylor’s aim of strengthening the rights of workers.”

“‘Henry VIII’ powers could give Ministers the ability to subtly but importantly alter regulations to the detriment of working people without Parliament being given a say.”

“And rights delivered by judgements of the European Court of Justice, such as on holiday pay, could be open to legal challenge from unscrupulous employers in British courts.”

“We need an absolute guarantee by the Government that these rights will be protected, and that no worker will have their rights diminished by Brexit.”

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