Theresa May uses the former Tony Blair approach to review workers’ rights
Theresa May, the new prime minister has ordered the former head of Tony Blair’s policy unit, Matthew Taylor, to review worker’s current rights at work. Mr Taylor will be investigating parental rights at work, pension auto enrolment, sick pay rights, holiday pay rights, all of which affect millions of workers across the UK.
Mr Taylor will be taking a “review of modern employment” into why low-paid workers suffer from job insecurity. “While 92% of people consider job security to be important, only 65% people think their job is secure and 15% think it is insecure – that’s around 5 million people wondering if they will be able to pay the bills each month, or what will happen to the mortgage if they’re suddenly out of work,” he wrote in The Guardian. This review will hopefully identify those company’s and businesses paying their workers less than the minimum wage, especially following recent news of Sports Direct workers being paid less than the minimum wage.
The review will include focussing on self–employed workers and those on zero hour contracts. Theresa May has said: “Our regulations work well for the majority, but we will ensure that no-one is left behind.” It will focus on fast-growing tech companies such as Uber who have recently been taken to London Employment Tribunal by two taxi drivers who claim Uber has been acting unlawfully by not paying sick pay or holiday pay.
The strategy to carry out the review will include having conversations with workers in different roles and sector industries across the UK. This will give workers the opportunity to speak about how they feel from the different industries and guide the review process.
Some would say the review is a good approach following the UK’s vote on BREXIT, as many employment protection rights derive from EU legislation allowing:
- A legal limit on the number of hours’ employees can be required to work
- Laws to prevent employers discriminating against workers who are disabled or who have particular religious beliefs
- The right for employees to take time off work to look after sick children
The results will draw attention to the current law, policies and practices within the workplace which will require attention following the UK’s exit from the EU. Ms May mentioned in her short but encouraging speech on Sunday 2 October 2016, “existing workers’ legal rights will continue to be guaranteed in law…”
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