Government must make good on its promise to workers

11 May 2021

Prospect union has called for the government to use today’s Queen’s Speech to make good on its promise of the biggest upgrade of workers’ rights in a generation.

House of Parliament

There is expected to be an Employment Bill in the Queen’s speech , after it was first announced in the previous Queen’s speech in December 2019, but then not introduced due to Covid. The government has promised that: “The Employment Bill, when introduced, will deliver the largest upgrade to workers’ rights in a generation, including measures that will help people to balance work with their personal lives.”

Prospect is calling for the government to:

  • ensure genuine flexibility at work, with proper safeguards for workers
  • bring in a Right to Disconnect
    take action to protect data rights at work and curb intrusive surveillance
  • involve unions and the workforce in decisions that affect them
  • boost rights for the self-employed, including access to sick pay and parental support

Prospect General Secretary Mike Clancy said:

“We are at a crucial moment in the future of work in the UK, and the government has a chance to shape that future for the better by delivering the modernisation of workers’ rights that they have promised. This means building in genuine flexibility based on agreement between employers and their workforce, whether workers are based in workplaces or working from home.

“And it means taking workplace mental health seriously, and helping workers to regain a separation between work and home. Technology can make our lives easier but not being able to switch off from work is a key driver of work-related mental health issues – introducing a Right to Disconnect would be a welcome first step in addressing this.

“The advent of widespread working from home has seen ever more intrusive surveillance software mooted as a way of managing people remotely. There is a real danger that we sleepwalk into a world where this is the norm and companies can intrusively monitor their workers and do what they want with their data with no fear of consequence. If the government is to take a global lead in this field it must legislate to protect workers’ liberties and ensure full transparency and consultation about how workers are monitored and how that data is used.”

worker at screen with text projected onto face

Future of work, technology and data

Campaigning for better work for all in the new normal