Newham Council fights for workers’ rights with new Employment Rights Hub


Newham Council’s Employment Rights Hub, the first of its kind in the UK, was
launched this week by Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz at a Full Council meeting.

The hub has been set up to advise residents of their rights at work with Newham the
first local authority to embark on such an initiative.

Everyone who works in the UK has employment rights, wherever they come from or
whatever job they do, but it can be very difficult for employees to know what these
are or how to stand up for them. The hub will help support residents in understanding
and standing up for their rights in the workplace.

It will be run by the Our Newham Money team, which has recruited three new
employment rights advisers to support Newham residents and provide a one-to-one

Workers’ rights are at the heart of the Council’s policy agenda, which is driven by a
commitment to community wealth building and to measuring economic success on
the health, happiness and wellbeing of residents.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said:
“There’s a massive awareness issue regarding what employment rights are. This has
become even more important with the Covid pandemic, which has shown how
precarious and insecure work has made people more vulnerable, affecting their
ability to protect their health and remain safe.

“Unfortunately, we have seen decades where employment rights have been eroded
and this has seen an increase in insecure and lower paid work. We know that a high
percentage of Newham’s workforce are in such jobs and this makes them more
vulnerable to exploitation and low pay. Many people aren’t being paid the minimum
wage – let alone the London Living Wage – or aren’t receiving holiday pay. Also,
people aren’t getting tested or isolating and this is because they can’t afford not to
work and it’s difficult to obtain the government support available. The Employment
Rights Hub will be able to help so many different cases and correct injustices.

“Our priority is for better quality and more secure local jobs with higher pay,
something central to our local inclusive economic strategy as we emerge from Covid.
However, we know that people need support and protection now and as a council we
are on the side of our residents. This new free and confidential service means we
can really help them.”

The hub has been developed in consultation with the Trades Union Congress (TUC)
and it formed a key part of the discussion at a webinar hosted by the Council in which the TUC took part on 16 June called “Insecure Work in a Pandemic”, focusing on the importance of workers’ rights in a fair and decent economic recovery.

The Council commissioned the Learning and Work Institute to help gain a better
understanding of the nature and scale of employment rights abuse and to formulate
an effective intervention. This focused on a wide range of statutory employment
rights, including underpayment of the minimum wage, non-payment of sick pay and
holiday pay, unfair dismissal, discrimination and bogus self-employment.