11 July 2017

Taylor Review “falls way short”

The CWU was one of the first unions to deliver an unequivocally damning verdict on the Taylor Review into exploitative practices in the UK labour market that was published this morning.

Far from unveiling any concrete plans to ban the zero-hour contract abuse that is rife across the country, nor any substantive proposals to tackle the bogus self-employment model on which the so-called ‘gig’ economy thrives, the eagerly anticipated review has been widely dismissed as woefully inadequate on multiple levels.

Particular scorn has been poured on the Review’s proposal to grant zero-hour workers a laughably weak ‘right to request’ guaranteed hours - immediately denounced as “no right at all” by TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady given that those wanting to appeal refusals by exploitative employers would have to fork out £1,200 up-front to take their case to a tribunal.

The TUC was equally withering about proposals to introduce a new category of “dependent contractor” employment which, Frances pointed out, “looks like caving in to” to gig economy employers who don’t even want to pay the national minimum wage.

The review has been given similarly short shrift from the Labour Party, with Labour’s shadow business secretary Rebecca Long-Bailey telling the BBC’s Today programme “if it looks like a job or smells like a job then it is a job, and the worker should be employed.”

Demanding a concerted labour movement response to a classic missed opportunity, general secretary Dave Ward pulls no punches about the Review’s multiple inadequacies.

"For workers across the UK the labour market is like the Wild West,” he stressed. “Exploitation is exploitation whether it’s in a sweatshop or at the end of an iPhone and the Taylor Review falls way short of addressing the problems workers face. 

"With six million people earning less than a genuine living wage, it is astonishing that this review is watering down workers’ rights to the minimum wage. Far from creating a country that works for everyone, Theresa May is creating a country in which we work until we drop.

"The question now for trade unions is what we’re going to do about it. It's time for the union movement to come together in a concerted campaign to end insecure employment and in work poverty by making greater demands on behalf of all workers.”

Dave concludes:  “The CWU is calling for an agreement on a common bargaining agenda, a trade union manifesto on what constitutes a new deal for workers and a well constructed plan including action to achieve it. 

"It's incumbent upon unions to step up, work together and deliver a new kind of trade unionism. We must make the future world of work the number one political issue and organise workers everywhere."

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