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Labour vows to end ‘rigged economy’ with new employment rights


John McDonnell

John McDonnell

John McDonnell

The 20-point plan includes giving all workers equal rights from day one and banning zero hours contracts.

Labour has unveiled a string of measures to end the “rigged economy” in the workplace, including new employment rights and an end to the public sector pay cap.

A 20-point plan includes giving full employment rights on day one, civil enforcement of gender pay auditing, strengthening protections for women against unfair redundancy, and protections against third party harassment.

Unions warmly welcomed the announcement, saying the plans would “transform” workers’ rights.

The pledges include giving all workers equal rights from day one, whether part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent, banning zero hours contracts, ensuring any employer recruiting labour from abroad does not undercut workers at home and repealing the Trade Union Act.

Unions would be guaranteed a right to access workplaces.

Other measures include maximum pay ratios of 20:1 in the public sector and companies bidding for public contracts, a ban on unpaid internships and scrapping employment tribunal fees.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “These policies will be the cornerstone of the next Labour government’s programme to bring an end to the rigged economy that many experience in workplaces across Britain.

“The scandal of six million people earning less than the living wage, and four million children growing up in poverty are not inevitable. It only takes a change of government to bring these outrages to an end.

“The measures we are planning will make that possible, update our country for the 21st century and prepare us for the economic challenges ahead. They will also underpin the values we want to see in the British economy, and underline the scale of Labour’s plans to transform the workplace from the shop-floor up to the boardroom.”

Unite leader Len McCluskey said: “This positive platform from Labour is the antidote to the uncertainty and insecurity which plagues working life for millions in the UK.”

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Labour’s plan promises to transform employees’ rights. These proposals will change the lives of millions of working people for the better.”

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, said: “There is an overwhelming and unarguable case to end the public sector pay cap to prevent a further decline in living standards in the coming years.”

Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association, said: “Labour aren’t just signposting the way to a better Britain, they are producing the policies that lay out new foundations for a new economic settlement that respects workers, their rights, ends the scourge of zero hours and gives workers more time off just like we did in 1945.”

Tim Roache, GMB general secretary, said: “This is exactly why we need a Labour government. If these policies were in place today, they’d transform the lives of millions of working people.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This is an impressive set of commitments from the Labour Party, many of which have long been advocated by the TUC. Making these ideas a reality would make a real difference for millions of hard-working Brits.”

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