Last week, Prime Minister Theresa May and Secretary of State for Brexit David Davis discussed the government’s approach to Brexit, which included a commitment to protect and improve workers’ rights.
May also gave her strongest indication yet that the UK’s exit from the EU will lean towards a ‘hard’ Brexit, suggesting that gaining control of immigration is more important than access to the single market.
The PM has hired former Tony Blair chief advisor of political strategy to produce a detailed report on modern working practices.
Downing Street states the review is aimed at helping the self-employed, freelancers, part-timers and those juggling multiple jobs.
The review could see holiday pay for freelancers introduced, as well as a greater understanding of flexible working.
“Existing workers’ legal rights will continue to be guaranteed in law – and they will be guaranteed as long as I am prime minister.
“We’re going to see workers’ rights not eroded, and not just protected, but enhanced under this government.”
“Improving the security and rights of ordinary working people is a key part of building a country and an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few.
“Flexibility and innovation are a vital part of what makes our economy strong, but it is essential that these virtues are combined with the right support and protections for workers.”
“The UK has one of the strongest labour markets in the world – with record numbers of people in work, and an unemployment rate almost half the EU average.
“That’s a proud record, but if we are to build a country that works for everyone – not just the privileged few – we need to be certain that employment regulation and practices are keeping pace with changing world of work.”
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:
”We welcome Theresa May’s commitment to guarantee workers’ rights for as long as she is Prime Minister. But we need stronger protection that can span across future governments. We need May’s government to ensure that any future trade deal between the UK and EU includes a commitment not to fall behind the EU on improvements to employment rights.
“The Prime Minister must follow her words on improving workers‘ rights with action. Britain’s job market has proved to be a magnet for the wrong kind of bosses. There must be tougher rules to stop them using zero-hours contracts to keep the whip hand over workers, and to undercut decent employers. And the hefty employment tribunal fees that are pricing hard working people out of justice must be scrapped.
“The Prime Minister must listen to Britain’s trade unions who represent millions of workers at the hard end of an unfair labour market. The TUC stands ready to work with the government to give working people the new rights they need for fairness and security at work.”
Seamus Nevin of the Institute of Directors, also welcomed the review:
“The technological revolution has allowed hundreds of thousands of new businesses to thrive and is transforming the world of work.
“It is important that the Government works to ensure our employment regulations and definitions are flexible, so that we protect workers and give them access to training and development, while still enabling innovation and enterprise to prosper.”
Rebecca joined the HRreview editorial team in January 2016. After graduating from the University of Sheffield Hallam in 2013 with a BA in English Literature, Rebecca has spent five years working in print and online journalism in Manchester and London. In the past she has been part of the editorial teams at Sleeper and Dezeen and has founded her own arts collective.