Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer bids to woo trade union leaders with pledge on workers’ rights
Sir Keir Starmer is attempting to woo trade union leaders with a pledge to agree to their demands for a raft of new rights for workers.
Addressing the TUC conference, the Labour leader will promise a “new deal for workers”, with full rights and protections from day one in a job.
His speech comes after fierce criticism from left-wing union leaders – led by recently-retired Unite general secretary Len McCluskey – who have demanded more radical Labour policies.
It also suggests the Labour leader wants to reassure his party that he will not ditch key policies of his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn, despite the risk of coming under attack from the Tories.
In his speech, Sir Keir will say a Labour government would make sure workers are “paid properly, not taxed unfairly” and promise:
• A minimum wage of at least £10 per hour
• Rights for all workers from their first day on the job, including holiday pay, parental leave, and protection from unfair dismissal
• The right to work flexibly and request shifts that fit around family life
• A ban on fire and rehire
• An end to zero-hours contracts
Sir Keir’s pledges all meet demands made by the TUC in recent years, which were spelled out by general secretary Frances O’Grady in her conference speech on Monday.
Attacking Boris Johnson’s national insurance hike to pay for social care, Sir Keir will say: “Under the Conservatives’ unfair plans, working families across the country don’t get a pay rise but will get a tax rise.
“Ensuring good quality, secure work, underpinned with employment rights fit for the reality of modern working, is not only good for employees, but it’s good for business, and is part of getting our economy firing on all cylinders.
“Too many people in Britain spend their lives worrying about how many hours they’ll be given next week, what will happen if they need to attend a medical appointment, or how they’ll pay the bills if they fall ill.
“Labour will give all working families the job security and pay security they not only need, but deserve.”
Labour says its proposed reforms will benefit working families across Britain, one in nine of whom are in insecure work.
The promised increase in the minimum wage would mean a pay rise of £2,500 a year for a carer on the minimum wage, the party claims.
In a further attack on the Prime Minister, the Labour leader will claim working families are facing a “double whammy” under the Conservative government.
Sir Keir claims many will be hit by the planned £1,040 a year cut to Universal Credit next month and are also now facing a tax rise thanks to the government’s National Insurance hike.
Welcoming Sir Keir’s pledges, Ms O’Grady said: “Banning zero-hours contracts and delivering decent sick pay for everyone would make a real difference to millions of workers.
“The pandemic exposed the terrible working conditions that many in our labour market face – including our dedicated key workers.
“Everyone who works in Britain deserves to be treated with dignity.
“Labour have set out concrete plans to make working people better off. It’s a big contrast to this government’s record over the last 11 years.”
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