Recruiters have been assessing measures contained in the Labour Party’s Election Manifesto, which was leaked yesterday to several media organisations, including the BBC and the Daily Telegraph. Most expressed concerns about Labour’s plans for the UK workforce.
The proposed policies include:
- Abolition of zero-hours contracts
- Abolition of unpaid internships
- More rights for trade unions
- Equal rights for workers irrespective of their status so that temporary and part-time workers will have identical protections to full-time employees
- An upper ratio limit of 20:1 between the highest- and lowest-paid workers in order to secure Government contracts
- Increases in taxation for the top five per cent of workers
- Double-pay maternity leave in the first month
Samantha Hurley, Director of Operations at the Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo), described plans to abolish zero-hours contracts and limit public contracts as “very concerning.” She added: “These policies fail to take into account the fact that competitiveness and flexibility in the labour market are key to Britain’s economic strength.
“A well-regulated flexible workforce enables organisations to implement change, manage fluctuations in demand and bring on board niche skill sets that they would be hard-pushed to secure on a permanent basis in order to thrive.”
Ms Hurley went on to highlight the role of skilled Umbrella Company Employees and other independent contracting professionals, citing findings that consistently demonstrate the especially high productivity of these flexible workers.
She concluded with the words: “Post-Brexit, UK plc is going to need to be more competitive than ever before, and the Labour policies are not going to deliver this. Labour’s proposed policies are quite simply bad for business.”
Striking a more conciliatory note, the Chairman of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies, Adrian Marlowe, acknowledged that the draft manifesto does highlight issues in our society that require investment and attention. Investment that translates into new jobs and improved pay, he said, should be welcomed.
Stating that he looks forward to more detail on the plan to ban zero-hours contracts, Mr Marlowe nonetheless described the proposal to guarantee a minimum number of hours as “problematic.” It is not at all clear, he said, what kind of regular contract a worker would be entitled to after 12 weeks of working regular hours.
While questioning whether the new plan to grant all workers the same rights from day one would really work for the UK economy, Mr Marlowe welcomed the Labour Party’s commitment in terms of modernising employment status and the related law. The ARC, he noted, has been arguing that this is overdue, but any modernisation should correctly reflect the benefits of flexibility for the labour force.