Retailers worried about Taylor review on casual labour and costs
A government-commissioned review that sets out a blueprint for improving low-paid workers’ rights and pay has sparked debate in the speciality food sector about the practicalities of the recommendations.
Retailers contacted by FFD are worried about increased costs if ministers follow through on the recommendations outlined in Good Work – The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices.
Report author Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers and Commerce, has asked the Low Pay Commission (LPC) to consider a higher minimum wage level for casual, non-guaranteed hours.
He has also called for full terms & conditions on a worker’s first day and for all to have the right to request fixed hours and permanent contracts.
Emma Mosey, co-owner of Minskip Farm Shop, York, was worried employment rules and regulations might become more complicated.
“We value workers very highly and want to keep them for a long time and grow them with the business to maximise opportunities.
“I feel strongly it suits some people to have flexible jobs where they don’t have strings attached but everyone should be protected.”
Malcom Crease, co-owner of James Patrick Delicatessen in Hessle, East Yorkshire, said: “My wife and I work over 60 hours a week and with food costs going up as much as they are, energy costs – all costs – I do wonder whether the government has a clue about the pressures small businesses are under.”
Simon Fairey, who owns Christopher James Delicatessen, Leicester, said it was about time changes were made to protect workers’ rights, although he, too, was worried about the cost attached and the impact on profit margins.
Taylor’s recommendations include:
• New role for the Low Pay Commission to improve quality and progression in sectors with a high proportion of low-paid workers.
• Strive to improve employees’ rights and two-way flexibility.
• Recognition and support for promoting health and wellbeing at work and the role that employers can play in this.
• Primary legislation to define the boundary between self-employment and worker status
• LPC should consider a higher minimum wage level for casual workers for those hours which they are asked to work but are not guaranteed to them.
This story was taken from the August edition of Fine Food Digest. Read more here.