Labour to pledge new deal for workers

Labour is offering a “new deal” for workers, including improvements on pay, job security and equality.

Within the first 100 days of a Labour government, the party said it will legislate to launch Fair Pay Agreements, starting in the social care sector, as part of a “fundamental change” to the economy.

Deputy Leader Angela Rayner will open Labour’s Party Conference in Brighton on Saturday by launching a Green Paper on Employment Rights.

Improving wages, job security and rights at work will improve productivity as well as the health of workers, she will say.

Under Fair Pay Agreements, worker and employers representatives will be brought together by the government to agree minimum pay, terms and conditions, which would form a “floor” in a sector, say Labour.

Other measures would include an immediate increase to the minimum wage to at least £10 per hour, the creation of a single status of “worker” for all but the genuinely self-employed, the right to flexible working for all workers from day one, and a ban on zero-hours contracts.

Labour is also pledging to increase Statutory Sick Pay and make it available to all workers, extend statutory parental leave and introduce the right to bereavement leave.

Ms Rayner will also say that Labour would end the trend of so-called “fire and rehire”, which has sparked a series of disputes amid complaints by unions that it is being used by employers to cut pay and conditions.

Ms Rayner will tell the conference: “It will be the driving mission of the next Labour government to end the poverty wages and insecure work that blights millions of lives and is holding back our economy. Labour will make Britain work for working people.

“Work should provide not just a proper wage that people can raise a family on, but dignity, flexibility and security. Better pay and more secure work is good for workers, good for businesses and good for the economy.

“Labour will deliver a New Deal for Working People so they get a fair share of the wealth they create, and within the first 100 days of the next Labour government we will sign this New Deal for Working People into law.”

Andy McDonald, Shadow Employment Rights and Protections Secretary, said: “Instead of an employment model that delivers for working people the Conservatives have ushered in one that means a race to the bottom on the backs of working people.

“Outsourcing, zero-hours contracts and agency work drive down pay, standards and conditions across our whole economy for everyone.

“It is high time that the key workers who got us through this crisis, and all working people, are given the dignity and security at work that they deserve.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Many of the key workers who got us through this crisis – including our dedicated care staff – are on poverty wages and insecure contracts.

“Fair pay agreements would help end this injustice and be a game-changer for millions of working families.

“Giving workers and their unions more power to bargain collectively is the best way to improve pay and working conditions across Britain.

“These much-needed proposals are about making sure that hard work pays off for everyone.”

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Everyone knows the social care system is broken with care workers treated abysmally.

“These proposals would bring much-needed standards and union representation to hundreds of thousands of care workers.”

Manuel Cortes, Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association general secretary, said: “These are the kind of bread-and-butter policies that will win Labour the next election.”

GMB general secretary Gary Smith said: “Strengthening employment rights is important and welcome, but these policies can also go further, with substantial pay increases across the economy, not least in sectors like social care where GMB is fighting for a £15 an hour minimum.”

Royal College of Nursing general secretary Pat Cullen said: “Better pay, terms and conditions is a good starting point to undo years of mismanagement and address the chronic vacancies that blight the health and care sectors.

“However, the unfortunate reality is there isn’t enough educated, experienced nursing staff to meet our health and care needs now or in the future.”

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