TUC in demand for action on workers’ rights

Alan Jones, PA Industrial Correspondent
·2-min read

The Government is being urged to improve workers’ rights after research showed support for measures including banning zero-hours contracts and tackling insecure jobs.

The TUC accused the Government of “dithering” over its manifesto promise to boost workers’ rights.

Ahead of International Workers’ Day (May Day) on Saturday, the union organisation said a survey of more than 2,500 adults showed overwhelming support – 80% – for giving all workers the same set of basic employment rights.

A total of 54% back a ban on zero-hours contracts and 70% agree that workers should be given 28 days’ notice of shifts so they can plan their lives and childcare.

The TUC said its polling also showed support for tackling the “scourge” of insecure jobs.

Workers’ rights have been in the spotlight in recent months as those in the so-called gig economy campaign for improvements to pay and conditions.

The TUC said many people on zero-hours contracts are offered work at less than a day’s notice, and often have shifts cancelled with little warning.

General secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Too many still go day to day without knowing what hours they’ll be working or whether they’ll even earn enough to put food on the table for their family.

“The pandemic exposed the terrible working conditions and insecurity that is the reality of many of our key workers in retail, care, and delivery.

“This has to be a turning point.

“It beggars belief that the Government is still dragging its heels on an Employment Bill that was first announced a year and a half ago.

“It’s time the Government stopped dithering and delivered on its promise to boost workers’ rights.

“Ministers must bring forward the Employment Bill in next month’s Queen’s Speech, and use it to ban zero-hours contracts and end exploitation at work, once and for all.”

A Business Department spokesman said:  “We are committed to protecting workers’ rights, and our record speaks for itself.

“In the past year alone we have taken vigorous action to enhance workers’ rights, from introducing parental bereavement leave, to protecting new parents on furlough, to giving millions a pay rise through a higher minimum wage, and we’re not stopping there.

“We are bringing forward plans to crack down on workplace abuses through a powerful new enforcement body, while giving workers more freedom over where and when they work by putting an end to the use of exclusivity clauses for those on low pay.”