MP slams Tories over gig economy

Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine
Date published: 19 July 2017

OLDHAM MP Debbie Abrahams has hit out at the Government claiming an "epidemic of precarious employment" for ten million workers on insecure contracts across the country,

Mrs Abrahams, who is also Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, echoed statements made by the Trades Union Congress and claimed that the Government were failing to address issues in the labour market.

Mrs Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, said: "Over the past 30 years, the labour market that offered a 'job for life' has slipped away, to be replaced by increasing flexibility associated with a rise in precarious work, temporary and short-term contracts, low pay and poor work environments.

"Precarious employment is at epidemic levels, with up to ten million workers on insecure contracts across Britain and this is simply unacceptable and adversely affects us all. When I chaired the Oldham Fairness Commission, the commissioners and I were presented with evidence that showed inequalities in employment are prevalent across Oldham and when compared with England, and similar areas, we learned that Oldham has a lower rate of employment than both regional and national levels. Similarly, disabled people and people from Black and Minority Ethnic communities were less likely to be employed.


"We also found evidence that one in three jobs in Oldham are paid below the living wage. This compares with just over one in five in the North-West as a whole."

She added that there is evidence that the effects of income inequalities have an impact on how long people live, social mobility in society and levels of crime.

Mrs Abrahams continued: "Decent pay, and good working conditions for employees, are not just fundamentally fair, it's good for business, it's good for workers, and it's good for Oldham and the rest of the country. Flexible labour markets by their very nature have a disproportional negative effect on low-skilled jobs, with workers stuck in an endless "low pay, no pay" cycle.

"Universal credit can take anything from six to twelve weeks to process an initial claim. Government cuts to this credit and other support is a key factor contributing to the use of food banks, here in Oldham and across the country, and personal debt and even homelessness.

"Report after report has highlighted these inequalities, but in seven years nothing has been done by this Tory government."

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