“Fourth industrial revolution” feels more like first for gig economy workers

09 May 2019

The Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committees have written to the Government urging it to finally enact the recommendations of the Taylor Review of Modern Employment, and their joint report on a Framework for Modern Employment, accepted well over a year ago.

Rt Hon Frank Field MP, Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee, said:

“Until the Government gets a grip on the gig economy, employers’ revenues will go on being subsidised by their sweated workforce and an exhausted public purse. Case after case has shown that employers must be forced to hold up their end of the bargain – many will not do it willingly.

“We’re supposed to have entered the fourth industrial revolution. For millions of low-paid workers, it feels like the first. Eighteen months after our Committees presented the Government with a law to fix this, we continue to hear from scores of workers whose bogus self-employment gives rise to a life of insecurity and low wages. End this wretched exploitation, make work pay, and let’s have an economy befitting the fifth richest nation in the world.”

Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said:

"Almost two years since the Prime Minister launched the Taylor Review and over a year on from the Government accepting most of its recommendations, the Government has failed to bring forward the promised Employment Bill needed to match the Prime Minister’s commitment to “a country that truly works for everyone’. While the Government dawdles, it is left to the courts to find in favour of people’s basic employment rights, leaving vast numbers of people in insecure work without the rights many of us take for granted: sick pay, holiday pay, and certainty that they will earn at least the minimum wage. The Government must stop dragging its feet and come forward with the legislation needed to protect workers’ rights and end the abuse by unscrupulous employers.”

In November 2017, the Work and Pensions, and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committees published a joint report and draft Bill to close the loopholes that allow companies to use bogus “self-employment” status as a route to cheap labour and tax avoidance, saying the law must not allow willingness to exploit workers to be a competitive advantage.

The Government’s response was published in April 2018: A framework for modern employment: Government response to the First Joint Report of 2017–19.

The joint report from the BEIS and Work & Pensions Committees followed evidence sessions with Matthew Taylor, on his report Good Work: the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, and with Sir David Metcalf,  Director of Labour Market Enforcement.

Further information

Image: PA

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