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Government must take action to protect workers’ rights, says TUC

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called on the government to stop dithering and deliver on its manifesto promise to boost workers’ rights.

The majority of the UK working population want all workers to have the same basic rights, according to new TUC research.

Over half (54%) of UK workers want zero-hours contracts to be banned and seven in ten (70%) believe that workers should have the right to 28 days’ notice of shifts.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, told HR magazine too many working people have limited rights to exercise, and still go day to day without knowing what hours they’ll be working, or whether they’ll even earn enough to put food on the table for their family.

She said: “The pandemic exposed the terrible working conditions and insecurity that is the reality of many of our key workers in retail, care, and delivery, this has to be a turning point.

“It’s beggars belief that the government is still dragging its heels on an employment bill that was first announced a year and a half ago.”

O’Grady said it’s time the government stopped dithering and delivered on its promise to boost workers’ rights.

“Working people have spoken, they want workers’ rights upgraded wholesale.

“Ministers must bring forward the employment bill in next month’s Queen’s Speech and use it to ban zero-hours contracts and end exploitation at work, once and for all,” she said.

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TUC research found eight in ten (80%) working people agree big companies must be responsible for all the workers in their supply chain.

This included giving workers the right to take action on unpaid wages, unpaid holiday pay or unpaid sick pay against the commissioning company or buyer as well as their immediate employer.

Last month, TUC research found insecure occupations have COVID-19 mortality rates twice as high as other occupations

O’Grady said no matter your race or background, everyone deserves fair pay and to be treated with dignity and respect.

She added: “During the pandemic, we've seen higher infections and death rates in insecure jobs. Too many workers are trapped on zero hours contracts or in other sorts of insecure work and are hit by a triple whammy of endemic low pay, few workplace rights and low or no sick pay."

The TUC polled 2,523 working people in April 2021.