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TUC calls for stronger rights for outsourced workers

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has called for a “beefing up” of labour laws affecting employees of outsourcing firms, saying that current legislation is insufficient to support subcontracted workers. The organisation has suggested that the government bring in legislation to allow such workers to challenge their “parent companies” to ensure full access to benefits such as holiday pay and even the national minimum wage.

According to TUC estimates, up to five million workers – 3.3 million employed through outsourced providers, at least 1 million by recruitment agencies and similar firms, and 615,000 by franchised operations - in the UK cannot enforce their basic rights.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is an issue that affects millions, from fast food workers to people working on building sites. Employers have a duty of care to workers in their supply chains. They shouldn’t be allowed to wash their hands of their responsibilities… Joint liability must be extended to parent employers. Without it they can shrug their shoulders over minimum wage and holiday pay abuses… Our labour enforcement laws urgently need beefing up.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said: “The government recently set out plans to ensure millions of workers, including agency workers, will benefit from enhanced rights and protections. We are also considering repealing laws allowing agencies to employ workers on cheaper rates.”

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