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A workers' watchdog without new funding won't make a real difference to workers' lives - far more Government action needed

June 9, 2021 11:13 AM

Robin AshbyThe Government has announced an aspiration to uphold employment rights and plans a new 'workers' watchdog. Newcastle Liberal Democrats Spokesperson for Business, Cllr Robin Ashby, said:

"This is a long-overdue step towards properly enforcing workers' rights, but we need to see far more action from the Government, including support for those who fall between the stools of employed abd self-employed.

"It is unacceptable that this announcement comes without new legislation or funding. This body must be written into law as soon as possible, and receive enough funding to employ at least one labour inspector per 10,000 workers.

"Making a real difference to workers' lives takes more than a new watchdog. The Government must strengthen workers rights in key areas, such as giving zero-hours workers a 20% higher minimum wage and gig workers basic protections such as sick pay."

According to the NGO FLEX (Focus on Labour Exploitation), the ILO recommends a target of one inspector for every 10,000 workers.

To strengthen the rights of "workers" and "independent contractors" tied to one business, Liberal Democrats are calling for a new "dependent contractor" status in between employment & self-employment, with basic rights such as minimum earnings levels, sick pay and holiday entitlement.