We are proceeding with work on 52 of the 53 review recommendations made by Matthew Taylor, and we are currently engaged in consultations on how best to implement those measures. We are committed to ensuring that we protect and enhance workers’ rights in the modern economy, and to legislating for that purpose. We will ensure that employment law and practices keep pace with modern ways of working, while striking the right balance between flexibility and worker protection.
The Minister may be aware that workers at McDonalds are taking strike action in Cambridge today. One of them, Sheila, told the Cambridge News at the weekend that although she has worked for 18 years, her work is insecure, she never knows what hours she will work, and fresh fruit and vegetables are luxuries. What has the good work plan to offer Sheila?
Matthew Taylor set out in the good work plan how we can further enhance the protections for workers such as Sheila. There is a huge amount of day-one protections, and we are looking at what we can do with flexible working and zero-hours contracts to give greater certainty and security to workers exactly like Sheila.
The Government response to the Select Committee report on a modern employment framework stated:
“The Government wholeheartedly agrees that strong action should be taken against employers who repeatedly ignore both their responsibilities and the decisions of employment tribunals.”
Those are fine words, but if they are to be meaningful the Government must back them up with action and put in place rules to prevent or deter repeat offenders from bidding for public sector contracts; will they do that?
The Government recognise that unfortunately some employers continue to offend repeatedly in this way. We are looking at what further measures we can take in the work plan, and more widely in the work of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, to ensure that such repeat offenders are clamped down on.
Given the work that the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee and the Work and Pensions Committee have done on the gig economy, will the Government undertake to ensure that, when they introduce a Bill based on the Taylor report, we will have a chance to stage pre-legislative hearings?
We have worked closely with the right hon. Gentleman’s Select Committee, and, as he knows, we greatly value his contribution. We are consulting on the work of Matthew Taylor, and I pledge to the right hon. Gentleman today that we will work hand in hand with his Committee to ensure that it properly scrutinises that proposed legislation as it comes forward.
The world of work is changing as businesses respond to changes in customer demands. Does the Minister agree that many workers enjoy and appreciate the flexibility of the freedom to choose when they wish to work?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. New technologies have provided a huge number of new and exciting work opportunities for people, but we also want to ensure that we not only enhance and capture that potential, but offer protections for those working in the gig economy, to make sure they are not disadvantaged.