Scottish Government must promote fair work in care sector
The Scottish Government must focus on pushing forward the fair work agenda in a variety of sectors, including care work, the Fair Work Convention has said.
The convention warned that COVID-19 would worsen existing inequalities in the workplace and this was “reinforcing the need for decisive action”.
In its latest report, it urged government to work with employers and unions if Scotland is to become a fair work nation by 2025.
Analysis of official data found there had been no improvement on access to flexible working in the five years prior to the pandemic, while the use of zero-hours contracts had increased.
It also highlighted falling trade union membership and a reduction in workplace learning.
The convention has called for a renewed focus on improving the experience of workers in agriculture, forestry and fishing, construction, retail, hospitality and care – the poorest performing sectors in terms of the fair work agenda.
Co-chair Professor Patricia Findlay said: “While progress has been made in some areas, the extent of persistent inequality at the workplace is deeply concerning and is likely to worsen as a result of the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on those already experiencing the poorest fair work outcomes.
“The need for urgent action by government, employers and unions is critical to ensure that fair work is at the heart of our response to, and recovery from, the current crisis, and to deliver a fair work nation that enhances the lives of our citizens while strengthening our economy and society.”
The report also included recommendations on using public funding as leverage to improve work practices; improving the experience of disabled workers, ethnic minorities, women and young workers; and improving access to training.
But the convention also found some improvement in employment security, payment of the living wage, and narrowing of the gender and ethnicity pay gaps in the five years up to March 2020.
Co-chair Grahame Smith said: “Now is the time to reaffirm our commitment to fair work and its crucial role in delivering the type of Scotland we want and need.
“2025 is within the next parliament. All political parties in Scotland should put a commitment to fair work at the heart of their manifestos for the nation’s economic recovery, for reducing inequality and for improving the wellbeing of Scotland’s workers, citizens and communities.”