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Better protection for vulnerable workers and a fair deal for good employers are at the heart of two pilot projects ...
Better protection for vulnerable workers and a fair deal for good employers are at the heart of two pilot projects announced today by employment relations minister Jim Fitzpatrick.

The pilots will bring together organisations such as trade unions, local authorities, business groups and advice bodies to tackle the problems faced by vulnerable workers and ensure they know their rights.

Mr Fitzpatrick said:

'The government wants to ensure that everyone benefits from the employment rights we have introduced. Too often workers, especially in the low pay sectors, aren't aware of their rights or where to go when they have a problem.

'I'm pleased to announce today that the two pilots will operate in the City and Docklands area in London focusing on the building and cleaning services sector, and in Birmingham looking at the hospitality industry.

'These pilots will ensure that the most vulnerable workers have better access to support and advice about their employment rights and responsibilities. They will bring together unions, advice groups and businesses to raise awareness of employment rights, and help workers develop their skills.

'Business will also benefit as the projects will look at the help given to employers to raise their awareness of employment law obligations. There will also be opportunities for them to feed into the government's Employment Law Simplification Review.'

The pilots will launch early next year and will run for a two-year period.

Notes :

1. The pilots have their origin in Success at Work published in March which committed government to piloting a new partnership approach to helping vulnerable workers.

2. The DTI will be inviting the TUC to put together proposals for the London pilot. A non-union organisation will be invited to lead the Birmingham pilot to ensure a contrasting approach. DTI is still considering which organisation to invite to lead this pilot.

3. A small Practitioner Panel will be appointed to assist with the development and implementation of the pilots ensuring that the projects have the benefit of expert advice on ways of reaching vulnerable workers, communicating with and influencing employers, skills provision and compliance issues.

4. The Employment Law Simplification Review is intended to reduce the compliance costs and complexity for business of employment law, without diluting employee and trade union rights and protection. It will deliver on a series of commitments made in the DTI employment relations strategy document Success at Work. The review is owned jointly by the DTI and the Cabinet Office's Better Regulation Executive.

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