IPSE calls for digital infrastructure improvement

Monday 18 May 2015

The Association for Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) is calling for improvements to be made to digital infrastructure, in order to help the UK's smallest limited companies work from home when travel is disrupted.

IPSE made the call after it was announced that rail workers would be going on strike for 24 hours on bank holiday Monday. It is the first time that there has been a nationwide rail strike for two decades.

At 17:00 GMT on May 25th, members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will begin their strike, with disruptions carrying on into Tuesday May 26th. This will affect commuters that are due to go back to work on this day, following time off for bank holiday. Union members will also be banning overtime for 48 hours.

The strike comes after RMT members rejected a four-year deal, which would see a payment of £500 this year as well as three years of pay increases to match inflation, along with a commitment for no compulsory redundancies through to December 2016. However, the union said that the pay proposals do not match up to living standards and claimed that there are also safety concerns.

IPSE said that improved digital infrastructure is needed because it would help to manage the disruption posed to owners of microbusinesses when public transport workers go on strike.

Chief executive at IPSE Chris Bryce said: “The self-employed face particular disruption when transport strikes go ahead, as the nature of their work means they are often on the move meeting existing and potential clients. With many people now put in the position where they have to work from home it raises the question of whether our digital infrastructure is up to scratch. For many, particularly those in rural areas, the answer is unfortunately not.”

Criticisms have been made in the past about how, in the UK, people living in urban areas typically have a better broadband connection than those living in rural areas. The government has made efforts to roll out fibre optic broadband across the country but it has been a slow process, with rural communities being the last to see it installed in their area.

Mr Bryce said it is important that digital infrastructure is brought up to speed across the UK so that people can consider working from home as an option. He says that, by ensuring broadband access is effective and that mobile reception is reliable up and down the country, self employed people would be better able to get on with their job even when travel is disrupted.

By Victoria McDonnell

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