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Labour's shift on worker rights: A business-oriented approach

Labour's shift on worker rights: A business-oriented approach


Labour's decision to unveil a weakened package of worker rights has stirred mixed reactions, with Hina Belitz, Employment Partner at Excello Law, expressing disappointment but not surprise

Hina Belitz points out that this move appears to be a strategic shift to appeal more to business interests, which traditionally oppose measures aimed at strengthening worker rights.

The apparent watering down of Labour's proposed employment law changes raises eyebrows, particularly in light of previous statements emphasising the urgency of addressing issues like flexible working rights. While Labour had previously asserted the need to avoid prolonged consultation processes, the revised proposals now include promises to consult on changes such as fair pay agreements and a new unified 'worker' status.

Of particular concern is the decision to incorporate the 'right to disconnect' into an Acas code of practice rather than enshrining it in legislation, as initially intended. Belitz highlights that other countries have successfully implemented a legal right to disconnect, and questions the effectiveness of relying solely on a code of practice to address the pervasive culture of employees feeling pressured to be available around the clock.

Labour's shift in approach underscores the delicate balance between prioritising worker rights and appeasing business interests. While consultation and collaboration are essential in shaping effective policies, the decision to dilute key proposals raises questions about the party's commitment to championing the rights of workers in the modern workplace. As the debate unfolds, the focus will remain on finding solutions that strike a fair balance between the needs of businesses and the rights of workers.