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TUC Commission calls for action on employers

8 May 2008

The TUC-backed Commission on Vulnerable Employment has urged the government and enforcement agencies to act on employers who flout laws on pay and rights at work. The call comes after the publication of its report, Hard Work, Hidden Lives.

The NUJ has welcomed the public calls for action. The report backs NUJ demands for action to stop employers exploiting legal loopholes to force workers into bogus self-employment, thereby denying them rights at work.

The report says:

“While self-employment can suit some workers, others are falsely classified as self-employed; they have none of the autonomy of genuine self-employment and none of the rights at work that go with employment.
"The bogus self-employed can find themselves paying taxes as an employee with none of the rights attached to that status or any of the advantages of genuine self-employment.”

The commission’s call comes after years of campaigning by the NUJ and other unions.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Jeremy Dear, NUJ general secretary, said:

“We welcome the calls for a review of employment status. That must be a first step to changing the law to stamp out this unacceptable exploitation.”

The commission has also called for better enforcement of the National Minimum Wage and other rights at work – a move warmly welcomed by the union following its recent exposé of bogus work experience placements. A union report found that hundreds of young journalists were having to work for free, in breach of the law, across the industry.

Commissioners were “shocked by the open defiance of employment law by some employers”.

Jeremy Dear said:

“Now we have shone a light on the shady practices going on in too many workplaces we look forward to the Government taking steps to ensure the laws are enforced and employers who break them punished.”

Tags: , interns, employers, rights, tuc