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Loophole: self-employment

There are now 4.6 million self-employed workers in Britain, according to the Office for National Statistics, and on average they work longer hours than employed workers. Their wages have fallen by around 22 per cent since 2008. They account for 15 per cent of the workforce, almost double the figure when records began in 1975.

When it next trumpets the supposed benefits of the EU, UCATT might like to note its own calculation last year that 963,000 workers in construction were paid, many of them falsely, as self-employed, according to figures the union obtained from HM Revenue and Customs. No paid holidays for them.

Whether falsely self-employed or not, these workers are not protected at all by any legislation regarding hours of work. They have no guaranteed holidays. They have no guaranteed workplace or private pensions, and limited rights to even the basic state pension. No redundancy pay. No protection when a business is transferred. They are even hampered by EU legislation when combining to improve their pay and conditions because they can be treated as employers setting up a cartel!

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