Unite reaction to the Queen’s Speech

The UK’s largest trade union issued the following reaction to today’s Queen’s Speech.

Derek Simpson, Joint General Secretary of Unite, said:

“Unite welcomes the government’s commitment to people’s aspirations, through extending apprenticeship schemes, rights to workplace training and to achieving a better work life balance, but these things are incompatible with proposals also contained in the Queen’s Speech to reduce business regulation, failure to introduce legislation to ensure equal treatment for temporary and agency workers and to continue the opt out from the European Working Time Directive.

“UK business is already the least regulated in Europe and UK workers remain the most vulnerable.”

Tony Woodley, Joint General Secretary of Unite said:

“Gordon Brown’s government have laid the foundations for positive changes to working people’s lives and should not squander the opportunity to take much needed radical steps to improve the world of work.

“Tough action against employers who exploit vulnerable workers is welcome and necessary, but further legislation is needed to provide for equal treatment of agency workers. Extending flexible working is a welcome recognition of the difference it makes to family life, but it should be strengthened to be more than a right to ask as so many workers report not being allowed to work flexibly by their employer.

“Providing good quality safe pension schemes properly funded by employers will mean a lasting legacy from the Brown government. The announcements on housing and transport show a government willing to listen, although we know that further funding will need to be made available so that workers and their families have secure and affordable homes.”

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Please call Catherine Bithell or Claire Ainsley in the Unite press office for further information on 020 7 420 8909 or 020 7611 2549