The COVID-19 crisis has proved what a number of labour lawyers connected with the Institute of Employment Rights have been saying for years: labour law (the law of the workplace) in the UK is not fit for purpose. Indeed, labour law can now be seen to have almost totally failed in its ostensible primary purpose of protecting and empowering workers. It has failed to protect workers' jobs, incomes and their health and safety. In particular, our labour laws have failed to ensure that workers have the right to be heard in the determination of the conditions under which they work.
In the reconstruction after the COVID-19 crisis a transformation of labour law must be an essential element, both for workers and for the economy. Given the prospect of a decline in GDP of 30% (Bank of England) or 35% (Office of Budget Responsibility) and post-pandemic unemployment estimated at between 2.95 million (BoE) and 3.36 million (OBR), the transformation of labour law is essential if the working class is not to be reduced to penury.
The attached paper sets out the labour law reforms that will be a necessary part of the reconstruction of economic life in Britain.