UK employment rights lag behind those of other European countries and the 'gig economy’ is fuelling job insecurity, a Liberal Democrats conference event heard today.
Callum Robertson, a legal policy commentator and prospective parliamentary candidate for Clacton, told a fringe event: ‘There needs to be a legislative framework in place [for zero hours contracts]. The Dutch government has devised a legislative framework. The UK has been very lazy in that. We don’t want to be playing catch-up.’
While stressing that flexible hours suited some workers, Robertson said: ‘Lack of regulation in the supermarket sector, for example, is frankly taking the Micky.’
A representative of the Association of Liberal Democrat Trade Unionists added: ‘The gig economy is really job insecurity. People have no control over the work they are going to get. We want a situation where all employees have an agreed employee contract definition. The government needs to sit down and work out… how to define this kind of employee.’
He added: ‘I think there should always be a basic number of hours you work.’
In 2017 political strategist Matthew Taylor published a government-commissioned independent review of modern employment practises which came out against a wholesale shakeup in the law. He argued that ‘the best way to achieve better work is not national regulation but responsible corporate governance, good management and strong employment relations within the organisation’.
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