Labour and TUC have set out visions for more employment rights while the pensions regulator calls for gig workers to get given pensions and an inquiry begins into AI and surveillance in the workplace.
The Labour party and the Trades Union Congress have outlined visions for the future of work, saying that as the UK emerges from the pandemic, there is the opportunity to reset the relationship between employers and staff.
Shadow Secretary for the Future of Work, Angela Rayner, has criticised the government for failing to deliver an employment bill that ministers had indicated would secure the rights that workers held during the UK’s membership of the European Union. She also said there is “an urgent need” for stronger employment rights and protections.
Rayner also called for fire and rehire – where staff are forced to accept worse conditions in order to keep their jobs – to be outlawed “without any further delay”. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady urged broader flexibility with regard to working patterns and for policymakers to “increase and broaden” statutory sick pay.
Meanwhile, Charles Counsell, the CEO of the Pensions Regulator, has called on gig economy companies to recognise the employment rights of those who work for them and set up workplace pensions. He said the Pensions Regulator had been “engaging closely” with Uber following a ruling by the Supreme Court that declared its drivers were workers, rather than self-employed.
An inquiry has been set up into the use of AI and surveillance in the workplace by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Work. Writing about the inquiry in the Times Clive Lewis and David Davis said there had been a big rise in the use of algorithmic management technologies and that there is “evidence that disabled workers in particular lose out as a result of the way algorithmic systems quantify their work”. They added that shift allocating applications “have also created significant issues for workers with caring responsibilities”.