Taylor review “like putting out forest fires with water a pistol”

Big change is needed, change that is backed up by law and proper penalties for breaking those laws, says union.

GMB, Britain’s general union, has branded the Government’s response to the Taylor Review as ‘trying to put out a forest fire with a water pistol.’

The long-awaited review to Matthew Taylor’s review of modern working practices was finally published today.

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: “This report looks like a consummate guide to tinkering around the edges – like trying to put out a forest fire with a water pistol.

“If the Government is serious about making life better for working people, giving workers the right to request that their bosses stop paying them poorly or treating them badly is an unfunny joke.

“I can tell you the answer to those workers’ ‘requests’ right now. It’s a deafening no.

“Abuse of agency contracts and insecure work is a deliberate business choice by employers who care about profit, not people.

“Big change is needed, change that is backed up by law and proper penalties for breaking those laws.

“Naming and shaming hasn’t stopped companies robbing workers of the minimum wage. These are weak proposals, from a weak Government that has promised much but delivered little for workers.”

Commenting on the Government’s latest response to the Taylor Review, Michael Hibbs, head of employment law at Shakespeare Martineau, said:

“This response is just not good enough. If the Government doesn’t put more meat on the bones, then it will let employers, operators, workers and employees down who are crying out for more clarity.

“Unfortunately, with Brexit dominating parliamentary time now, it is unlikely that we will see the problems associated with employee working rights change any time soon as the consultation is likely to take weeks or even months.

“Working practices must now reflect the growing gig economy. They have to redress the balance of rights and responsibilities, as well as provide clearer distinctions between the various categories of the workforce.

“Employers and employees alike would have liked the Government to take proactive action at this stage of the review. For example, there have been calls to remove the definition of “worker” altogether and instead create a clearer and wider definition of “employee”. As the definition of a worker has been unhelpful and unclear to date, many businesses – particularly those in the gig economy – have been wrongly labelling individuals as self-employed rather than “workers”. In doing so, employers open themselves up to costly litigation claims and employees are denied basic rights such as holiday entitlement and sick pay.

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