A poll by the TUC has found that more than 84 per cent of working people want everyone at work to have the same set of basic rights.

In addition, eight in ten (80 per cent) of those polled agreed that big companies must take responsibility for all the workers in their supply chain. This would give workers the right to take action on unpaid wages, unpaid holiday pay or unpaid sick pay against the commissioning company or buyer as well as their immediate employer.  

The TUC pointed to the scandal of workers producing clothes for household name company Boohoo, who were found to be working in dangerous conditions and not paid the national minimum wage. The union body says this highlighted how some employers seek to avoid their responsibility for workers in their supply chains, which makes it very hard for those workers to claim unpaid wages and holiday pay.  

The TUC polling also revealed that just over half (54 per cent) of working people want zero-hours contracts to be banned; while seven in ten believe that workers should have the right to 28 days’ notice of shifts.

Almost half of those on zero-hours contracts and over half in agency work are black or minority ethnic workers. Action to stamp out insecure work and bring in decent contracts would make a big contribution to equality and fair treatment for BME workers. 

The TUC also argues that the pandemic must be a turning point for workers’ rights. But despite promises by government to improve them in their 2019 manifesto and plans for an employment bill in the 2019 post-election Queen’s speech, there has been no sign of the legislation.

It wants to see a renewed commitment to an employment bill in the upcoming Queen’s Speech on Tuesday 11 May, arguing that this will be “a litmus test” as to whether the government is serious in terms of its so-called “levelling up” agenda.

Currently those with worker status – who often work in gig economy roles such as couriers and food delivery – miss out on vital safeguards granted to employees such as a minimum notice period if their employment ends, protection against unfair dismissal and the right to request flexible working. 

The poll of 2,523 working people in Great Britain was conducted by GQR Research online between 29 January and 16 February 2021.  

You can read the results of the poll in full here.