photo credit: World Bank Photo Collection via photopin cc

Employment law should be devolved to Scotland to tackle the ‘repeated failures’ of ‘umbrella companies’, says the Scottish National Party (SNP).

A treasury report published in 2008 was highly critical of the practices of ‘umbrella companies’, but the then Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling said “the Government has decided to leave the current rules unchanged”.

Labour also failed to support the devolution of employment law during the recent Smith Commission process, the SNP claims.

Employment law remains under the control of Westminster, but the Scottish Government is attempting to ‘promote a fairer framework for employment in Scotland through the Fair Work Convention’.

SNP MSP Gordon MacDonald said:

“The misuse of umbrella companies is causing real hardship for too many workers across the country – and the fact that successive Westminster governments have completely failed to tackle the problem is unacceptable.

“For Labour – and Alistair Darling in particular when he was Chancellor – to have failed to take action when given the chance in 2008 and then to have blocked the devolution of employment law to Scotland shows that Labour can no longer claim to be the party which stands up for working people.

“In contrast to Labour’s abject failures, even under the limited powers currently at our disposal, the SNP in government are doing everything we can to promote workers’ rights through the Fair Work Convention – and have taken real action through the Procurement Act to ensure as many workers as possible benefit from the Living Wage.

“The repeated failures of both Labour and Tory UK Governments to tackle this issue shows exactly why full powers over employment should be in Scotland’s hands rather than in the hands of a Westminster establishment which has too often shown scant regard for workers’ rights.

“A strong team of SNP MPs elected in May will always stand up for workers’ rights at Westminster – and will use our clout to argue for full powers over fair work to be transferred to Scotland to allow us to tackle unacceptable employment practices and guarantee a better deal for workers.”

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