2 June 2017

Despite indications that a decision has been taken on zero hours contracts, Matthew Taylor’s Independent Review into Modern Employment Practices has yet to report (probably in June) and is still taking evidence.

In that context, the CBI has issued "Work that works for all: Building a fair and flexible labour market that benefits everyone" (http://bit.ly/2qj9J6E).

This argues that the UK’s flexible labour market has been an invaluable strength of our economy - underpinning job creation, business investment and competitiveness - and should be protected.

The CBI believes that flexibility benefits both business and workers and insists that fairness is determined by treatment in the workplace, not the type of contract someone is given.

It highlights that the UK is rated as having the fifth most efficient labour market in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2016-17, behind only Switzerland, Singapore, Hong Kong and the United States.

What is more, more than nine in every 10 businesses (97%) told a CBI survey that the UK’s flexible workforce is either "vital" or "important" to their competitiveness.

From the worker's point of view, the CBI believes that the availability of flexibility in the workplace has helped some previously under-represented groups such as parents with primary caring responsibility – often mothers, but increasingly fathers too – to access employment opportunities.

Its new report ends with a series of recommendations including a suggestion that a package of reforms should be brought forward to return employment tribunals to being "an easily accessible, informal, speedy and inexpensive means of dispute resolution".

For a start, it urges, departmental responsibility for the system should be returned to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).