The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS) has launched an inquiry into automation and the future of work. The purpose of the inquiry is to consider two points.
1.The inquiry will look at the impact automation will have on UK businesses and the potential it has for productivity, growth and re-industrialisation. It will focus on specific questions about automation such as which sectors are most likely to be affected by automation, and whether businesses receive enough financial support when opting to automate.
2.The inquiry will also look at the impact automation will have on workers. The inquiry will consider what policies and actions should be in place to reskill workers and the role Government should play to support this.
In the recent case of Roddis v Sheffield Hallam University, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that an employee on a zero hours contract could compare himself to a colleague on a full-time contract for the purposes of bringing a claim for less favourable treatment under the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (the PTW Regulations).
The Supreme Court handed down its judgment yesterday in the case of Pimlico Plumbers Ltd and another v Gary Smith  UKSC 29 confirming (as the Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal had) that Mr Smith was a worker within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act and not, as Pimlico Plumbers contended, self-employed.
In the recent case of Agoreyo v. London Borough of Lambeth  EWHC 2019 (QB), the High Court has held that suspension as a "knee-jerk" reaction to an allegation of misconduct may in itself be sufficient to breach the implied contractual term of trust and confidence.
Pimlico Plumbers has now been granted permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. The decision reached by the Supreme Court will be significant as the highest authority on the employment status of purportedly self-employed contractors. It is likely to have implications for the so-called "gig economy".