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MU Success Supporting Precarious Workers at STUC 2017

STUC passes MU motion acknowledging the challenges of the gig economy, how we can better protect independent workers and grow the union movement.

Delegates from the Musicians’ Union (MU) are attending the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC), taking place from Monday 24 – Wednesday 26 April.

MU delegates put forward a motion on the gig economy, together with the trade union Community. The composite motion urges the STUC to make meaningful interventions to protect the right of workers in the gig economy, work with government to better support independent workers, and support trade unions in their organising activities in this sector.

Moving the motion, MU delegate Stephen Wright said, “The gig economy: welcome to our world! We need to recognise that the world of work is changing and the trade union movement needs to embrace this”.

We’re delighted to say it passed overwhelmingly. Read the full text of the motion below.

Composite L: The ‘Gig’ Economy

“That this Congress requests that the STUC General Council gives attention and recognition to the fact that the working environment is changing and that fewer and fewer people are ‘workplace’ employees. More and more workers are finding they have to manage a number of activities with corresponding income streams. This has been the case for people in entertainment industries for some time. Musicians who engage in a bit of performing, a bit of teaching, a bit of writing, and a bit of recording are not unusual. Managing these diverse activities and the corresponding income streams is not unusual. These workers can even be employers at times.

“Congress notes that the ‘gig’ economy can and should be fairer and acknowledges the role trade unions have had in securing that in recent months. Congress believes that the ‘gig’ economy can play a role in providing a path back to work for those who struggle to gain access to traditional employment, such as new parents or disabled workers.

“Congress believes that the systems operating in the UK to support traditional employment, whether through employment law, tax systems or the welfare state, contradict the needs of ‘gig’ workers and ‘gig’ employers and further excludes those who struggle to access work.

“Congress also believes it is crucial that trade unions engage with digital platforms, such as Deliveroo, to make meaningful and timely interventions that provide fairer working conditions.

“Congress urges the trade union movement to press such agencies, such as Scottish Enterprise, to acknowledge this.

“Many of the ‘entrepreneurs’ may not realise that trade union membership can be of assistance to them.

 “Congress calls on the STUC General Council to:

  • reach out to this growing sector of potential trade union support and membership by providing guidance on 21st Century working practices;
  • work with organisations, companies and commissions that are providing thinking and resource on shaping the ‘gig’ economy, to ensure it is fair for everyone;
  • work with the Scottish Government, to examine what measures can be introduced to support the growing number of independent workers; and
  • support trade unions in modernising traditional structures and models, to ensure that members that are not based in workplaces can participate fully in union activities.”

Published: 25/04/2017

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