A long-awaited blueprint on improving employment rights for zero hour workers has been branded a “lost opportunity” by trade union leaders.
The Taylor review into working practices recommends better treatment, including holiday and sick pay, for insecure workers on short-term contracts and cash-in-hand jobs. But it rejects regulatory measures to ensure employers comply with any changes.
The Government-commissioned report by former Blair adviser Matthew Taylor was launched with the support of Prime Minister Theresa May as part of her attempt at relaunching and rebranding her image after the general election. But it was also seen as cynical and opportunist, with no likely concrete results.
She said the proposals would be looked at closely over the summer, adding: “At its best, a job can be a genuine vocation, providing the means to intellectual and personal fulfilment, as well as economic security.”
Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB union, said the aim of the report, which took seven months to compile, was laudable but that it was “a disappointing lost opportunity”.
He said that “anyone can pay lip service to wanting good quality, well-paid work but employers could offer that right here and now – they simply choose not to. And they won’t decide to do so just because they’re asked nicely”.
Mr Roache said there would be no incentive for employers to change because the exploitation of existing workers is an integral part of company business models.
Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said: “The message must go out loudly and clearly to those employers who swindle their workforce that the law is doing after them and that working people will have justice.
“That is why Taylor’s recommendations should be matched by effective enforcement of the law. Without fully resourced enforcement then all we have from Mr Taylor and the Government is a dog that is all bark and no bite.”
Mr Taylor said honest employers have “nothing to fear” from the proposals.