UK employee protection and the EU/ILO

The Guardian published a piece talking about how the gravity of the EU aquis and its coming regulation on employment rights in the gig economy will impact UK employers. Maybe/maybe not! The article also reminds us of Johnson’s election promises,

[he was] elected in 2019 on a manifesto promise to introduce “measures to protect those in low-paid work and the gig economy”, an idea expanded in the Queen’s speech that year with a pledge to bring forward an employment bill that would “protect and enhance workers’ rights as the UK leaves the EU, making Britain the best place in the world to work”

It concludes with the following quote,

A spokesperson at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial strategy said: “The UK has one of the best records on workers’ rights in the world – going further than the EU in many areas – and we believe the UK’s current employment status framework strikes the right balance between the flexibility our economy needs and protections for workers.”

I consider this to be nonsense and so decided to lookup the UK’s compliance with the International Labour Organisations standards.

  1. ILO Labour standards, the ILO’s standards home page, has sub pages on the subjects covered by the standards
  2. ILO Conventions and Recommendations, they say, “International labour standards are legal instruments drawn up by the ILO’s constituents (governments, employers and workers) and setting out basic principles and rights at work. They are either Conventions (or Protocols), which are legally binding international treaties that may be ratified by member states, or Recommendations, which serve as non-binding guidelines.” This page contains a list of the conventions.
  3. UK Compliance with major ILO Conventions 2019 by the TUC, comments on modern slavery, forced labour (where it comments on the ‘hostile environment’), labour inspection (funding of the HSE and dilution of court supervision), and the worst forms of child labour (a critique of the UK junior regiment),

The UK has ratified the fundamental conventions, the biggest gap of course is that most employment protection rights don’t accrue until you’ve worked for two years.

Featured Image; This has been cropped/resized and loaded into my image store from an original on Genève international, which looks like a publicly funded guide to Geneva.

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