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Taylor review into gig economy ‘not a game-changer’, warn union chiefs

Taylor review into gig economy ‘not a game-changer’, warn union chiefs
3 min read

Trade union leaders have hit out at today’s review into employment practices for failing to shift the “balance of power” away from big companies and towards workers. 

The TUC said bosses would be “breathing a sigh of relief” after seeing the recommendations, which do not amount to the “game-changer” needed.

Matthew Taylor, a former advisor to Tony Blair, will formally launch his report today after a nine-month review commissioned by Theresa May.

One of the aspects he has investigated has been the so-called “gig economy”, amid concerns that  contractors at firms such as Uber and Deliveroo can lose out on holidays and sick leave due to their self-employed status.

Mr Taylor will today publish his seven principles to achieve “good quality work for all”, including the creation of a new employment status of “dependent contractor” to protect casual workers.

The report will call on the need for “additional protections for this group and stronger incentives for firms to treat them fairly” and greater transparency on “how to distinguish workers from those who are legitimately self-employed”.

It will also call on employers to make workers’ prospects for advancement “realistically attainable” and for the creation of “sectoral strategies” where employers, employees and stakeholders ensure people – particularly in low paid sectors – can progress in their current and future work.

But union chiefs have said the initial outline of the review amounts to “warm words”, rather than the overhaul of conditions that is needed, including a ban on zero-hours contracts.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “I worry that many gig economy employers will be breathing a sigh of relief this morning. 

“From what we’ve seen, this review is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity and exploitation at work.

“We’d welcome any nuggets of good news. But it doesn’t look like the report will shift the balance of power in the modern workplace.

“A ‘right to request’ guaranteed hours from an exploitative boss is no right at all for many workers. Especially when they’ll still have to fork out £1,200 to take a case to tribunal.

“The responsibility now lies with Theresa May to listen to those at the sharp end of the labour market. Vulnerable workers need root and branch changes, not just warm words.”


GMB General Secretary, Tim Roache, said the report was “disappointing” and looked like a “missed opportunity”.

“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,” he said.

In a speech at the launch today, Mrs May will say the Government will be on the side of “hard workers and good employers”.

“We will always back those enterprising small and medium-sized business owners who take risks with their own economic security in order to start and grow a business, contribute to our national success and provide employment to other people,” she will say.

“Our task, informed by the work of Mathew and his team, is to make sure that the high standards of our best employers become the benchmark against which all employers are judged. And as the world of work changes, our practices and laws can properly reflect and accommodate those changes.”

Shadow Business Secretary, Rebecca Long-Bailey, said: “Put simply, today’s Taylor Report shows that Theresa May is failing working people across the country.

“If they were serious about workers’ rights they are welcome to borrow from Labour’s manifesto. Our 20 point plan would truly transform the world of work, providing security, rights and protection for millions of working people.

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