SNP call for worker’s rights to be redefined to protect people in insecure jobs

Party says worker's rights should be 'front and centre' of political debate due to the 'rapidly changing world of work'

SNP spokesperson on workers’ rights and Trade Unions, Chris Stephens MP, is calling for the UK government to redefine employment laws to deal with the increasing number of people in insecure employment.

The MP’s bill, which will be debated at Westminster today (Wednesday), aims to deal with the “rapidly changing world of work’’ with the growth of increasingly precarious employment for more people in the workforce.

This includes the growth of zero hours contracts and the so-called gig economy and the underlying and serious threat to employment rights as the Tories plan for a no deal Brexit.

Chris Stephens MP commented in advance of his debate: “Westminster urgently needs to redefine employment laws in the UK – to provide protection from day one of a person’s employment.

“My debate is about addressing the rapidly changing world of work with more people than ever on zero hours contracts and in precarious work – against the backdrop of the constant threat of Brexit from this hapless, incompetent Tory government.

“It is essential that we deal with these issues now in the context of the gig economy and the so called ‘fourth industrial revolution’ of automation. We need a debate about what is fair work and how it should be properly rewarded.

“My Bill proposes to bring some clarity both to the definition of ‘worker’ – which would define what rights are available and also help clarify which workers these employment rights and duties apply.

“It would also give parliament the opportunity for more debate on the issues that are currently being explored in committees here – following on from the publication of the Matthew Taylor report.

“That report is useful in the sense that workers’ rights are front and centre of the debate but we should be in doubt – with Brexit on the horizon we should all be aware of how easily rights we take for granted could disappear.

“We cannot allow the issue of workers’ rights to slip off the table because we are so overwhelmed by the Brexit mess – in fact the threat of leaving the EU makes it all the more important that all rights are updated and secured.”