Workers’ rights ‘nowhere to be seen’ in Queen’s speech

By on

Key promises to protect workers have been left out of the Queen's Speech, Labour has accused the government.

The Queen’s speech is the chance for the government to share its priorities for the coming months. But in the 11 May speech, there was no mention of the forthcoming Employment Bill, and changes it would usher, which were included in the last Queen’s speech in 2019.

The Queen has outlined the government's priorities for the year ahead. Photograph: Youtube

Absent changes included making flexible working the default unless employers have ‘good reason’ not to do so – one of the promises in the 2019 speech. There was no mention of the new enforcement body, which government has said it would create to tackle labour exploitation and workplace discrimination.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer commented: “For too long, millions of people across Britain have been working longer and for lower pay.

“But where was the Employment Bill we were promised in the last Queen’s Speech, and repeatedly promised by Ministers? Nowhere to be seen.”

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said the speech should have addressed insecure work which many of the UK’s key workers in retail, care, and delivery have been facing during the Pandemic.

“We need action now to deal with the scourge of insecure work – not more dithering and delay,” she said.

But Lucy Thorpe, Head of Policy at the Mental Health Foundation, welcomed reforms to the health and social care system, contained in the Speech.

"There is potential to develop a real focus on preventative mental health work, co-ordinated locally and serving communities' needs,” she said.

“Getting public mental health right will improve people's mental health and help to prevent people from reaching crisis point, also reducing costs to the NHS.”

She said there was more work to make preventative mental health work ‘the norm’.

Queen’s speech 2021



Textile Worker Istock 922855144 Nikada (002)

UK brands urged to sign new accord to protect garment workers

By Belinda Liversedge on 10 September 2021

Workers’ rights group, Labour Behind the Label is calling on all UK clothing brands to sign a new pact designed to protect garment and textiles factory workers.

Courier Istock 1057704864 Nrqemi MED

Grey fleet workers must be protected on the road, says HSE

By Belinda Liversedge on 08 September 2021

Whether an employee is behind a desk or behind the wheel, employers have a duty to protect their health and safety, HSE has highlighted in updated guidance on work-related road risk.

PPE Supply Istock 1243565651 Drazen MED

Taxpayer to foot £2.9bn bill of ‘useless’ PPE, says Committee

By Belinda Liversedge on 06 September 2021

Vast amounts of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) intended for hospitals is still lying in storage, including £2.9 billion worth of items that are ‘not suitable for use’ in medical settings, a Committee has confirmed.