Vince Cable to strengthen British workers’ rights

Business Secretary Vince Cable. Picture: PA
Business Secretary Vince Cable. Picture: PA
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AN overhaul of employment rights to strengthen entitlements of British workers is to be ordered by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

The announcement will be made in Mr Cable’s speech today in what many expect to be his last as a Cabinet minister.

Mr Cable is also due to announce that he will ask the Low Pay Commission to boost the minimum wage of apprentices from £2.73 to £3.76 an hour, a move he expects will help 31,000 young employees.

The Business Secretary will also tell conference that the aim of his review of employment rights, which will see four agencies combined, is to make sure people understand their rights, as well as ensure bosses know what their staff are entitled to. The streamlining will see the national minimum wage enforcement section at HM Revenue and Customs, the working time directive section at the Health and Safety Executive, the Employment Agency Standards inspectorate, and the Gangmaster Licensing Authority coming together.

Mr Cable will say: “Workers should not be finding out that they are not protected by law once they get to tribunal.

“Businesses should feel more confident knowing what type of contracts to hire staff on.”

He will insist that streng-thened rights should be linked with the economic recovery.

He is due to say: “As the economy recovers, it is right to give a silent minority of workers, who currently have fewer employment rights, the security enjoyed by a majority of employees. The Liberal Democrats will ensure we will get a system that is fair, simple and transparent.”

The news follows a recent review into zero hours contracts, which revealed some workers could be missing out on basic rights such as maternity leave or unfair dismissal.