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Extent of the gig economy revealed; TUC SAYS ONE IN 10 WORKERS IN REGION ARE PART OF IT.

Byline: Mike Kelly Reporter mike.kelly@ncjmedia.co.uk @MIKEJKELLY1962

SOME 122,000 North East workers are caught up in the 'gig economy', according to research by the TUC published today.

The figure, which amounts to one in 10 of the region's entire workforce, includes all those in insecure jobs on zero-hour contracts, in low-paid self-employment and in temporary posts.

In its analysis, the TUC says as well as economic hardship and disruption to family life, many workers in the 'gig economy' are denied key workplace rights.

These include protection from unfair dismissal, family-friendly rights and rights to be represented by a trade union.

According to the TUC, bosses are falsely labelling staff as selfemployed, outsourcing work to agencies or using zero-hours contracts to drive down costs and dodge their employment and tax responsibilities.

It says agency and zero-hours staff can he hired and fired at will and have no right to return to their job after having a baby.

'Gig economy' workers forced into bogus 'self-employment' by their boss are not guaranteed the national minimum wage, paid holidays or sick pay.

TUC regional secretary for the North East, Beth Farhat, said: "Every worker deserves fair pay, decent rights, and a voice at work - but too many are stuck in jobs with bosses who treat them like disposable labour.

"We need a new deal for working people in the North East so every worker earns respect and every job is a good job.

"The Government must crack down on shady business models that exploit workers.

"No more zero-hour contracts. No more bogus self-employment and no more using agency workers to undercut permanent staff.

"Workers deserve so much better. That is why working people from the North East will be travelling to London on Saturday for the TUC's A New Deal for Working People demonstration."

Across the UK, the TUC says 3.8 million workers are in insecure jobs - or 11.9% of the entire workforce.

It is calling on the Government to: |Ban zero-hours contracts; |Ensure equal pay for agency staff; |Crack down on bogus selfemployment and ensure contractor workers enjoy the same floor of rights as employees; |Allow trades unions to access workplaces to support workers most in need of representation; |Increase resources and powers for enforcement so dodgy employers have nowhere to hide.

A Government spokesperson said: "We have record employment levels in the UK and through our modern industrial strategy we are helping businesses create better, higher-paying jobs all over the country while making sure employment rules and rights keep up to date . "We recently set out proposals to ensure millions will benefit from enhanced rights and protections as the UK becomes one of the first countries to address the challenges of the changing world of work."

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The TUC's Beth Farhat says too many workers are being poorly treated

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Author:Mike Kelly Reporter mike.kelly@ncjmedia.co.uk @MIKEJKELLY1962
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 10, 2018
Words:474
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