The New Workplace


01The New Employer2015080120150802 (R4)

Michael Robinson presents a new series on the dramatic changes happening in the workplace.

Office and factory nine-to-five long ago gave way to flexible and tele-working. Middle management is a ghost of its former pervasive self. Trade unions' once-dominant role in the workplace has been eclipsed. Far-reaching revolution has - and continues - to transform when, where, how and with whom we work - and what we are paid.

So how do today's workers and those who employ them - plus the growing numbers of the self-employed - see the changes that are taking place across the workplace?

In a new series exploring how work is being re-shaped and re-defined, Michael Robinson reports on

the ways in which expectations about how work is organised and rewarded have changed. He considers technology, who does what, pay, qualifications, training and skills and what the changes we've seen tell us about what's going on at work and what it tells us about how we're likely to work in the future.

In this first programme of the series, Michael considers the role of the employer.

02Being Your Own Boss20150808

In the second episode of The New Workplace, Michael Robinson looks at the rapid rise in self-employment in recent years. More than 4.5 million people in the UK are now self-employed and working in this way has accounted for an incredible two-thirds of new jobs since 2008.

So why are people doing it? Some of them are young, a lot of them old and some are in the middle of their lives facing the challenge of paying the mortgage and raising children. For some it's about liberation, for others it's a necessity and for some it's about starting working life without having a boss telling them what to do.

Michael hears about the challenges and the rewards of going it alone from 22 year old Kelly who works as a freelance copywriter in Manchester, 48 year old Juan Carlos who's found work on an online site and 59 year old Nigel who started his own consultancy in Stafford after becoming disillusioned working for his local county council. Michael also talks to Laura Gardiner at the Resolution Foundation about why so many of the self-employed are happy when the statistics show that wages have dropped post-recession.

Producer: Ben Carter

Presenter: Michael Robinson.

03Who Do I Really Work For?2015081520150816 (R4)
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Michael Robinson explores the world of agency workers and umbrella companies.

In the third episode of The New Workplace, Michael Robinson explores the world of agency workers and umbrella companies and discovers that some workers aren't sure who they are actually working for.

Michael talks to Mick Lynch, assistant general secretary of the RMT about conditions workers had to endure when working for Citylink, which went into administration on Boxing Day 2014. He also talks to hair salon owner Barry Alan about the 'rent-a-chair' system, which means none of the seven stylists working in his salon are employed by him.

We also hear from IT contractor Peter Meace who has spent the last fifteen years being 'employed' by an umbrella company that helps him take home more of his gross pay. Rob Crossland, owner of Parasol - the umbrella company that Peter uses - explains the advantages of using an umbrella.

Producer: Ben Carter

Presenter: Michael Robinson.

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Michael Robinson asks how workers will get the skills needed for a more prosperous future.

Michael Robinson continues his exploration of the contemporary world of work by talking to workers - and those who recruit them - about their ambitions.

Has the job for life disappeared and, if so, what is taking its place?

What skills do employers look for and how easy is it find suitably qualified workers?

The programme also explores the scope and nature of the apprenticeships companies are now offering.

Ministers have promised to create three million apprenticeships by 2020, but will the government's new apprenticeship levy overcome the historic problem of some companies not investing in training their employees but poaching workers trained by other firms instead?

Producer Simon Coates.

05The Future Of Work2015082920150830 (R4)
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Bringing to an end his series looking at employment now, Michael Robinson invites leading participants in the world of work to discuss the future of work. Among the questions he poses: Do we have to get used to a low wage, low skill economy?; What is the future for self-employment?;Is the idea of a lifelong career outdated?; And will trade unions become more relevant to the great majority of workers?

Guests -

Frances O'Grady - the General Secretary of the TUC

Justin King - for 10 years the Chief Executive of Sainsbury's

Alison Wolf - Professor of Public Management at Kings College, London who has long specialised in skills and training policy

And David Willetts - minister for Universities and Skills in the coalition government and now the Executive Chair of the Resolution Foundation - a think tank that aims to improve living standards for people on low and middle incomes.

Michael Robinson presents a series on the dramatic changes happening in the workplace.