Wednesday, June 09, 2021

A workers' watchdog without new funding won't make a real difference

In response to the Ministerial Statement on upholding employment rights and plans for a new 'workers' watchdog', Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Business, Sarah Olney MP, said:

“This is a long-overdue step towards properly enforcing workers’ rights, but we need to see far more action from the Government.

“It is unacceptable that this announcement comes without new legislation or funding. This body must be written into law as soon as possible, and receive enough funding to employ at least one labour inspector per 10,000 workers.
“Making a real difference to workers’ lives takes more than a new watchdog. The Government must strengthen workers rights in key areas, such as giving zero-hours workers a 20% higher minimum wage and gig workers basic protections such as sick pay.”

According to the NGO FLEX (Focus on Labour Exploitation), the ILO recommends a target of one inspector for every 10,000 workers. Available pg.24 in this report.

To strengthen the rights of “workers” and “independent contractors” tied to one business, Liberal Democrats are calling for a new “dependent contractor” status in between employment & self-employment, with basic rights such as minimum earnings levels, sick pay and holiday entitlement.

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