Trades Union Congress seeks fair deal for one in five workers identified as easily exploited

One in five workers can be classed as vulnerable and subject to exploitation, according to a report.

The Hidden One-in-Five – Winning a Fair Deal for Britain’s Vulnerable Workers report, written for the TUC by the Policy Studies Institute, uses official statistics to show that about 5.3 million workers earn below one-third of the median hourly wage and are vulnerable to exploitation.

According to the Labour Force Survey there are 1.2 million temporary employees in the UK of whom 226,000 are agency employees. About one-third of these meet the vulnerable worker definition, the report said.

The study shows that migrant workers, workers in the informal sector (working for cash in hand), and many homeworkers are particularly vulnerable.

The report recommends a course of future action to tackle the problems of vulnerable workers, including licensing for all employment agencies and modernising the law on employment status so that agency, casual and other vulnerable workers have entitlement to statutory employment rights.

The Trades Union Congress is currently taking place in Brighton. For coverage see next week’s issue of Personnel Today and online at

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