Employment Minister should appear on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue

Construction union UCATT believe that employment minister Jenny Willott MP should appear on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue after demonstrating her complete ignorance of the construction industry and her own Government’s policies.

As part of their proposals to end blacklisting the Scottish Affairs Committee recently recommended to Government that construction workers should be directly employed and not self-employed.

Ms Willott ruled this out and said: “The Government supports the use of flexible employment structures in the labour market and as such cannot agree with the recommendations for requiring direct employment only.
 “This would effectively be a ban on the use of agency staff in the construction sector, which is likely to be unfair to agency workers.”

Not only can a construction worker be directly employed via an employment agency but since April this year they effectively have to be. In April as part of the Budget, the Treasury introduced new rules that mean that workers must be paid by PAYE if they are under “the direction, supervision or control of an intermediary (an employment agency of payroll company)”.

The term direct employment means that a worker is employed directly and is an employee and pays tax by PAYE, rather than being officially self-employed (usually falsely self-employed). If a worker is directly employed they receive basic employment rights such as holiday pay, sick pay and pension entitlements and are less likely to be dismissed without notice and therefore the culture that creates blacklisting is reduced.

The change in the rules is effecting how tens of thousands of construction workers employed via agencies are now paid. However, there are already some instances of unscrupulous agencies trying to evade the new rules.

Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, said: “This shows that not only does Jenny Willott not understand the construction industry or the blacklisting scandal but she doesn’t understand her own Government’s policies. Rather than being an employment minister she is better suited to appearing on I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue.”

Mr Murphy, added: “Victims of blacklisting deserve better than to be fobbed off by lame excuses which don’t even comply with Government policy.”

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