Today the Matthew Taylor Review of modern working practices was released. It focuses primarily on the gig economy and the flexibility the government says is required in the 'modern' labour market.
The report was commissioned by the Tory Government and in my view is a wasted opportunity to address the serious issues of exploitation of workers and lack of legal rights in the workplace as well as the ability to enforce rights where they exist.
During a statement on the report today in Parliament, the Government Minister accepted the report's conclusion that there were instances where flexibility in the labour market seems only to work one way - to the benefit of the employer.
In Parliament today, I asked the Minister responsible whether that flexibility working one way for the benefit of employers included her government's failure to prosecute a single employer in Wales last year for paying below the national minimum wage.
The Minister's response was pathetic, simply suggesting I contribute to the ongoing consultation.
You can watch my question, and the Minister's response, here:
Jo Stevens MP, Cardiff Central:
"Thank you Mr Speaker. Twice the Minister has referred to the fact that flexibility seems to work only one way to the benefit of the employer. Does that flexibility include her government’s failure to prosecute a single employer in Wales last year for flouting the Minimum Wage rules?"
Margot James MP, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility:
"Just to correct the record I was not saying that flexibility was always a one-way street in favour of the employer. I said that that was, in exceptional cases, a real problem that needs addressing but it is not necessarily the norm. And in response to the other matters that she has raised, I urge her to contribute her views as we go through the consultation."