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Taylor fails self-employed by ignoring collective solutions

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11 July 2017

NUJ response to Matthew Taylor's report Good work: the Taylor review of modern working practices:

Tim Dawson, NUJ president, said:

“Matthew Taylor’s report leaves unanswered the central issues raised by his own inquiry.  He makes the right sympathetic noises, but his recommendations fall short of providing basic rights to all those workers who need them. By suggesting a new (or renamed) category of worker,  that of ‘dependent contractor', Taylor is adding to pre-existing problems.
"The term ‘contractor’ is routinely abused by employers who seek to avoid their responsibilities to their staff and to deny them rights and protections. We do not need another category.

“Instead, the government should be making it more difficult for employers to treat workers shabbily by dispensing with such distinctions as ‘employ’, ‘worker’ ‘contractor’. Legislation is required to provide basic rights and protections to all workers who are dependent upon one employer for their livelihoods.

“Most important of all, dependent workers should have a statutory right to be represented by a trade union for collective bargaining purposes. Perhaps the most glaring omission of Taylor's report is his failure to recognise the beneficial results that trade unions can achieve for freelance workers, something that explains why those that represent significant numbers of self-employed workers, such as the National Union of Journalists and others, have growing not contracting memberships, as Taylor asserts.”

Seamus Dooley, acting general secretary said:

"As a union which represents a large and growing number of freelance workers the NUJ is disappointed by this flawed exercise. The attempt to redefine a category of workers is a pretence at progress and will do nothing to protect those who deserve greater social protection. Like the TUC we are deeply sceptical that freelance workers will gain any benefits from this process."

The Taylor review: At-a-glance guide

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary said:

“It's no secret that we wanted this review to be bolder. This is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity at work. A ‘right to request’ guaranteed hours is no right at all for many workers trapped on zero-hours contracts. And workers deserve the minimum wage for every minute they work, not just the time employers choose to pay them for.
“But Matthew Taylor is right to call for equal pay for agency staff and sick leave for low-paid workers — something which unions have long campaigned for. The government should move swiftly to implement these recommendations. Theresa May cannot use this report as shield to hide from her responsibilities. We need a proper crackdown on bad bosses who treat their staff like disposable labour. And an end to employment tribunal fees that price workers out of justice.”

Tags: , matthew taylor, employment rights, employment law, self-employed, freelance, freelances, collective bargaining, gig economy