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Tories 'denigrating' trade unions

A senior Labour politician has accused the Conservatives of "denigrating" trade unions despite the expertise they bring to the world of work.

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said Labour was pro-worker as well as being unashamedly pro-business.

He told the annual conference of the shopworkers' union Usdaw: "I say to the Tories, who waste no time is denigrating our trade unions at every turn, you can't be pro-business if you are continually beating up on the terms and conditions of working people and on the organisations that represent them.

"Because it is through all stakeholders - government, business and our trade unions - working together that we will build that better future.

"We need you to be bringing the expertise and insight of those who are literally on the shop-floor into the strategic decision making of firms which I know you are already doing, and we need businesses willing to engage with you."

He told the Blackpool meeting that Labour's goal was to create better paid, more secure jobs - partly by improving productivity in low-paying sectors so firms can pay more.

He added that the leaders of Labour and the Conservatives illustrated the difference between the two parties.

He said: "In Ed (Miliband), we have a leader of deep beliefs, honesty and integrity, someone you can trust and where he sees unfairness or inequality like exploitation under zero hours contracts, instinctively seeks to act.

"On the other hand, in David Cameron, you have an out of touch Prime Minister who attacks those who seek to build a fairer society by stamping out exploitative zero hours contracts, while at the same time as saying he wouldn't want to work under one."

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