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Wednesday 3rd
posted by Zoe Streatfield in Britain

Backward Britain is a soft touch for bad bosses, says TUC’s O’Grady

BRITISH workers have suffered the biggest growth in insecure employment out of all the countries of the EU, according to a TUC study published today.

Researchers found that Britain tops the EU league table for growth in self-employment and ranks third for growth in temporary workers.

The report links the significant growth in insecure forms of employment in Britain to weak legal protections for those in bogus self-employment, agency work and on zero-hours contracts.

Protections for insecure workers were found to be poor in Britain when compared with other EU countries.

According to the report, Britain’s high placement for growth in these categories of work cannot be explained simply as a result of strong employment growth overall.

Germany had the fastest overall employment growth of any EU country in the period studied, but its number and proportion of temporary and self-employed workers have fallen.

Elsewhere in the EU insecure workers have had stronger legal protections and job security.

For example in France, workers can only be on a fixed-term contract for 18 months, and Germany has introduced a maximum hiring period of 18 months for temporary agency workers.

Zero-hours contracts do not exist in many EU countries, and are strongly regulated in others. In the Netherlands, employers are required to pay for three hours per shift and to provide regular hours when the worker reaches a certain number of weekly hours over a given period.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “It’s time Britain stopped being a soft touch for bad bosses.

“Otherwise the dodgy practices we’ve seen from employers like Hermes and Sports Direct will spread to more and more working people.”

She called on all parties to explain in their manifestos how they will improve the rights of working people ahead of the general election.

Ms O’Grady said: “There are millions of insecure workers in Britain who need a government that will flex its muscles to fight their corner and stand up to bosses who treat them badly.”

National Institute for Economic and Social Research researcher Nathan Hudson-Sharp said: “The UK stands out for having very precarious forms of work and for creating arrangements where workers are at particular risk of insecurity.”