FTA says report balances workers’ rights with need for flexibility, but falls short of defining self-employment

Wednesday 12 July 2017

The UK’s biggest transport trade body, the Freight Transport Association (FTA), has welcomed the recommendations in Matthew Taylor’s report on modern working practices published yesterday (11 July) in recognising the rights of temporary and part-time workers. However, FTA is concerned that the report’s failure to define ongoing working conditions could jeopardise the need to provide flexibility in the logistics sector.

The review focuses on the changing world of work, especially the so called ‘gig’ economy, and the rights of self-employed and agency workers. In it, Taylor, Chief Executive of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacturing and Commerce, makes six key recommendations and acknowledges the need for a two-way relationship between employers and employees. He says flexibility works both ways and while workers should be entitled to certain rights, these should not inhibit modern working practices.

Sally Gilson, FTA’s Head of Skills Campaigning, said: “The proposed new ‘Dependent Contractor’ status would give those working in the ‘gig’ economy greater rights, without taking away the flexibility that is so important for businesses. However, it’s important that this doesn’t confuse an already complicated job market further, and it is certain that clear guidance on any new worker status will be required.”

Matthew Taylor’s report advises that there should be greater clarity in determining self-employment status and for this to be easy for both businesses and workers to understand. But critics say Taylor himself should have defined the exact terms for self-employment status and FTA is calling on the Government to provide clear advice on what being self-employed means.

Taylor also addresses the issue of training and career development for workers in the gig economy – an issue that FTA is keen to pursue.

Ms Gilson said: “Skills development is a key area for logistics, as well as other vital parts of the British economy, and currently self-employed and agency workers are excluded from funded training. It is especially encouraging that the report throws the focus onto the Apprenticeship Levy and how it shuts out these workers at a time when so many sectors are suffering from skills shortages. We call on the government to take urgent action to implement changes recommended by Mr Taylor, to ensure that industry, and logistics in particular, can have access to the skilled workforce it needs to keep Britain’s trading partnerships, and economy as a whole, moving efficiently.”
FTA Press Office
01892 552255