CONSTRUCTION union UCATT has described a report by the Office of Tax Simplification into employment status as “hot air” and a “sop to employers”.
The union claims employment status and the problem of false self-employment is a massive issue in the construction industry with hundreds of thousands of workers being denied basic rights such as holiday pay and sick pay. As the false self-employed do not have employment rights they can be sacked without warning
UCATT says a multi-million pound industry now exists in construction which is solely based on validating false self-employment and ensuring that employers do not have any financial or employment responsibilities for the workers they engage .
False self-employment, they claim, in the construction industry is costing the Treasury in excess of £1.5 billion a year.
Since April 2014, due to changes made by the Government barring employment agencies and other intermediaries classifying construction workers as self-employed, tens of thousands of workers have been switched to umbrella companies. Despite the use of umbrella companies further confusing employment status and costing the Treasury millions in tax revenues they are not mentioned in the OTS report.
Steve Murphy, General Secretary of UCATT, said, “This report is embarrassing in its naivety; it is a sop to employers. The fundamental issue is not about the poor hapless small firm who may get confused by the rules. It is about rapacious employers who deny worker’s basic rights to boost profits.
“Rather than producing little more than hot air and fiddling around the edges the Government and the OTS need to tackle employment status once and for all and bring in simple laws which create two forms of employment, employees and the genuine self-employed.”