Congress acknowledges that the coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on all workers across the economy.
Congress notes that the crisis has had a particularly devastating impact for freelancers and the self-employed. Congress notes that almost half of self-employed people have lost work during the crisis for economic reasons (such as lack of demand or restrictions on activity), or health and caring reasons (such as illness, shielding, self-isolation or childcare).
Lockdown has exposed the vulnerability of the three million self-employed workers who have been excluded from government support schemes. Congress recognises many of those workers have struggled to make ends meet during the crisis.
Congress recognises the ongoing crisis facing freelancers in industries where many thousands have fallen between the gaps of the CJRS and the SEISS and left with no financial support at all.
Congress believes that the self-employed are a vital and growing part of our economy and acknowledges a growth in trade union membership amongst this group of precarious workers. Congress believes we need long-term solutions to address the inequalities faced by freelancers and the self-employed that the crisis has exposed. No groups of workers should ever again be left without a safety net at times of crisis.
Congress resolves to:
i. campaign for a ‘new deal’ for freelancers with the aim of ensuring better workers’ rights and more security at work for the self-employed
ii. ensure that high-quality self-employment is part of the TUC’s plan to ‘build back better’ after the pandemic
iii. examine best practice and new ideas for organising and providing a voice for self-employed workers
iv. convene a working group of affiliated trade unions to meet regularly to co-ordinate campaigning and recruitment of self-employed workers
v. lobby the government set up a task force to look at the ways that the self-employed can be better supported through the tax, welfare and employment system, including the extension of sick pay to the self-employed, shared parental leave and pay.
Supporter: College of Podiatry