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Boris Johnson’s government promised in the 2019 Queen’s Speech a post-Brexit employment bill that would safeguard rights and “make Britain the best place in the world to work”. But then the pandemic arrived.

In the Queen’s Speech a fortnight ago there was no mention of any employment bill — and trade unions, opposition parties and campaign groups have been vociferously objecting to its absence.

Until recently, those campaigning for improved workers’ rights would have greeted with relief the quiet shelving of proposed employment law reform from a Conservative government. The fear would be that the Tories would set about dismantling protections derived from EU law once Brexit was “done”. Those rights seem safe, at least for now.

Many people working in retail and hospitality have lost stable employment

ALAMY

Questions remain, however, over whether the government’s levelling-up