Mike Gapes MP shares his views on the issue of precarious contracts
I agree that this is an important issue and I know that it will be of concern to many people in our area.
I share concerns about the Taylor review of modern employment practices. While I appreciate the report’s sentiment on a number of issues, I believe that overall it was a massive missed opportunity to tackle the growing problem of insecure employment. While the Government has stated that it will consider the report and respond to it by the end of the year, it has given no guarantee that it will implement all of its proposals. I am concerned that the Government could even use some of these proposals to row back on recent legal victories won by workers such as Uber drivers.
There are too many people on contracts where they cannot be certain what work they will get in the future. With no security of income they are unable to plan for the future or even be sure whether they can pay the rent. I therefore agree that we should ensure all workers have the same rights at work, as well as guaranteed hours.
At the recent General Election, the Labour manifesto pledged to give all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent, so that working conditions are not driven down. The manifesto also promised to ban zero-hours contracts so that every worker gets a guaranteed number of hours each week. It further committed to guarantee trade unions a right to access workplaces and to enforce all workers’ rights to trade union representation at work. Another pledge, to abolish employment tribunal fees, has recently been vindicated by a Supreme Court judgement that such fees are unlawful. I welcome this victory for working people, unfortunately Labour did not win the election.
The Prime Minister has stated that that it is important for the Government to ensure that employers do not use arrangements such as zero-hours contracts to exploit people. If the Conservative Government is serious about this, I believe it should adopt the plan for security and equality at work that Labour put forward at the General Election. I can assure my constituents that I will continue to press the Government on these issues and to call for an end to contracts that allow the exploitation of workers.