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The News Line: News ‘Putting out forest fires with water pistols’ ‘LIKE putting out forest fires with a water pistol,’ is the way the GMB union branded the Taylor Review released yesterday which looked into the gig economy and employers who treat workers like slave labour. ‘Big change is needed,’ GMB said, ‘change that is backed up by law and proper penalties for breaking those laws.’

Matthew Taylor’s long-awaited review of ‘modern working practices’, when it was finally published yesterday, received widespread criticism. Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, said: ‘This report looks like a consummate guide to tinkering around the edges.

‘If the government is serious about making life better for working people, giving workers the right to request that their bosses stop paying them poorly or treating them badly is an unfunny joke.
‘I can tell you the answer to those workers’ “requests” right now. It’s a deafening no. ‘Abuse of agency contracts and insecure work is a deliberate business choice by employers who care about profit, not people.

‘Big change is needed, change that is backed up by law and proper penalties for breaking those laws.
‘Naming and shaming hasn’t stopped companies robbing workers of the minimum wage. These are weak proposals, from a weak government that has promised much but delivered little for workers.’
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘The government’s good work plan looks set to fall at the first hurdle. It’s no good, it won’t work and it isn’t a plan.

‘Britain’s worst employers need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, but sadly this response won’t do that. ‘If ministers spent more time trying to make life better for working people rather than focusing on the twists and turns of Brexit, exploited workers might have something to celebrate today.

‘There are things that the government could do now to get its own house in order. Cut-price outsourcing has created an explosion of illegal practices in our public services, especially social care. Public bodies cannot continue to ignore this. ‘Ministers must let public services lead the way by raising standards in their own contracts or bringing services back in-house.’

The TUC said that, even if all the recommendations in the Taylor Report were implemented, it would leave 1.8m workers without their basic rights.
 
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