HUNDREDS of thousands of workers could see their pay and conditions changed under changes to employment law, industry bosses have warned.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) fears any amendments to laws covering staff who transfer to different employers will substantially weaken pay and harm job security.

Bosses say changes to the Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment (Tupe) will particularly hit low paid workers in contracted-out services, such as cleaning, catering and social care.

Loading article content

It added employers could be encouraged to cut pay and conditions and sack staff after a transfer takes place under changes to collective agreements.

Frances O'Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “Watering down Tupe law means hundreds of thousands of vulnerable workers around the UK will lose out on vital protections at work.

“This is a deliberate bid by Government to make privatisation cheaper and quicker.

“Weakening guarantees on pay and conditions will encourage unscrupulous companies to compete for contracts based solely on low costs and not on the quality of service.

“This increases the risk of poverty pay for the predominantly women, black and Asian workers in industries where privatisation is common, like catering, social care and cleaning.

“The Government is sending a clear signal to employers that the rights and pay of low-paid workers are not important at a time when living standards are being hugely squeezed.”