Commenting on the Taylor review of Modern Working Practices, Focus on Labour Exploitation (FLEX) Director, Caroline Robinson said: “This review is very welcome, as an increasing number of workers are suffering severe exploitation in the UK. However, workers in precarious employment, with vulnerable status or situation in the UK have access to few of the ‘choices’ mentioned in the report.
“Whilst Taylor acknowledges a serious imbalance of power in the workplace, the report says little to address the extremely vulnerable position in which this places workers.
“Workers who are at the very margins of our society and yet integral to our labour market deserve to be protected, not to suffer discrimination and abuse that can lead to severe exploitation. Whilst the review sets out to clarify protections for workers, the enforcement of these protections is key for vulnerable workers.
“The UK has one of the lowest resourced labour inspection systems in Europe. Whilst the review talks of extending some inspection powers, the elephant in the room is the need for fully funded labour inspection and enforcement. Labour inspection budgets have been slashed since 2010, now’s the time to revisit those funding decisions.
“Gateways to advice for vulnerable workers are also key, yet FLEX evidence shows that workers are struggling to get the guidance they need. Much more emphasis is needed on ensuring all workers are assisted to prevent exploitation.
“Taylor makes a decent start at reviewing labour conditions, now much more work is needed to tackle the root causes of exploitation in our labour market.”
Notes to editors:
FLEX policy blueprint, ‘Combatting Labour Exploitation through Labour Inspection’ is available here.
The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices, July 2017, Good Work is available here.