From the TUC

The Taylor Review: What do we know so far?

10 Jul 2017, by in Working Life

There’s been a flurry of pre-briefing over the weekend on the Taylor report. We’ve rounded up what we know so far, and added our thoughts on what that would mean for the 3.2 million people in insecure work. Of course we’ll have to wait till the actual report is published tomorrow to give our final verdict – more here then.

Taylor looks set to recommend a new status of ‘dependent contractor’ with weaker minimum wage rights.

Kamal Ahmed at the BBC says:

The review is set to call for a new category of worker called a “dependent contractor”.

Those workers – likely to cover riders for firms like Deliveroo and Uber – should receive benefits such as sick pay and holiday leave, it will say.

And they will be covered by some of the minimum wage requirements.

This sounds like new rights for gig-workers. But what it misses out is that thanks to union cases, like the one taken against Uber, the courts say that these people are already entitled to these rights – and not just to the minimum wage, but to rights like paid holiday and rest breaks.

What we’re particularly worried these proposals would do is weaken gig workers’ rights, particularly to the minimum wage.

Kamal explains:

The review … will outline a structure obliging firms to show that a person working for them can earn at least 1.2 times the present national living wage of £7.50 an hour for over-25s.

The companies will do that by modelling the number of tasks – or “gigs” – an average person working at an average rate can achieve.

We think that this is caving in to special pleading from platform companies, who are claiming that they cannot pay the minimum wage like any other employer. Reviving piece rates would be a backward step. What happens if an Uber or Deliveroo driver gets stuck in traffic? Will they get paid less for not completing their set quota of jobs?

There won’t be a ban on zero-hours contracts

The Times says that the review stops short of a ban on zero hours contracts.

That’s not good enough. There are now nearly a million people on zero hours contracts, facing shifts being cancelled at the drop of a hat, and often missing out on rights too.

We’ve heard that their might be a ‘right to request’ a guaranteed hours after a year. But that’s simply not good enough. Putting all the pressure on the worker, and all the power in the hands of the boss simply won’t deliver the security these people desperately need.

People might get the right to a written statement of terms and conditions on day one of their job

More positively we’ve seen it reported that people may get a written statement of terms and conditions on day one of their job. That would be an improvement on the current situation, where people can still be left in the dark about the hours they’re expected to work, and how much they’ll be paid.

Here’s what it should say.

Of course, we don’t yet know if any of these reports are accurate – we’ll wait till tomorrow to find out. Here’s what we’re hoping for – and what we’ll keep fighting for, whatever the report says.