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Matthew Taylor review: Union leaders disappointed by “missed opportunity”

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady. Photo: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Union leaders hopeful that the Taylor review could improve the circumstances of people in insecure work have expressed disappointment and worry at its findings.

The review by former advisor to Tony Blair, Matthew Taylor, sets out recommendations to improve the quality of jobs in the UK employment market and give workers in the gig economy a better understanding of their rights.

But many union bosses are concerned the report does not contain enough good news for “exploited” workers.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “I worry that many gig economy employers will be breathing a sigh of relief this morning.

“From what we’ve seen, this review is not the game-changer needed to end insecurity and exploitation at work.

“We’d welcome any nuggets of good news, but it doesn’t look like the report will shift the balance of power in the modern workplace.”

Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, said: “The recommendations show some laudable aims on the surface – and of course any progress in basic employment rights is welcome – but as a whole it’s a disappointing missed opportunity.

“Everyone can pay lip service to wanting good quality, well-paid work but employers could offer that right here and now – they simply choose not to. They won’t decide to do so just because they’re asked nicely.”

Unite leader Len McCluskey said: “This review raised the prospect that the scourge of insecure working in this country would be tackled.

“It raised the hope that work would once again pay and there would be no profit in exploitation. It indicated that fairness and dignity would be restored to working life.

“But it has spectacularly failed to deliver on any of these. The seven pillars of Taylor are very wobbly and tumble to rubble under first scrutiny.”

He added that the recommendations must be matched by effective enforcement of the law.

The Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain said it had discovered that Greg Marsh, one of the panel members of the Taylor review, was an early investor in Deliveroo.

General secretary Dr Jason Moyer-Lee said: “The idea that a former Deliveroo investor would be one of the people making recommendations on employment rights in the gig economy undermines the entire integrity of this process. People should take with a large grain of salt anything they recommend.”

A government spokesman said: “Greg Marsh is clearly an expert in his field and has insight into modern working practices, as well as being a successful entrepreneur.”

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