Here is an edited version of Labour’s ‘A Better Plan For Britain’s Workplaces’, produced by Unite.
The central task for the next Labour government is to build an economy that creates better and more secure jobs and stop the Tory race to the bottom. This race to the bottom is the key factor behind the UK’s low level of investment, training and productivity relative to other advanced economies. Working people are suffering from reduced wages; low pay and insecurity are in turn driving higher government spending on social security to top up wages and reduced income from tax receipts.
- Addressing insecurity and unfairness in the workplace
- More than half of employees are worried about insecure work
- There are more than 1.8 million zero hours contracts in the economy
- Britain cannot succeed when working people feel insecure.
Labour will crack down on the worst abuses in our labour market and the first Queen’s Speech will include:
- A stronger minimum wage
- Banning exploitative zero hours working. If you work regular hours you will get the right to a regular contract with contractual hours averaged over 12 weeks
- A review of this to ensure action is taken to stop employers using short hours contracts instead of zero hours
- Legal rights to workers not to be forced to be available at all hours
- Legal rights not to have shifts cancelled at short notice without compensation
- Making it illegal to use agency workers to undercut wages of permanent workers, and illegal for employers to only recruit from overseas
- Tackling low pay
In the last five years working people have experienced the biggest fall in wages of any Parliament since the 1870s.
- Average wages have fallen by £1,600 a year since 2010
- Half of all new jobs since 2010 have been in low paid sectors
- One in five workers is low paid and more than a quarter of a million people are estimated to earn less than the legal minimum wage
Labour plan for Britain’s workplaces is to:
- Set a national goal to halve the number of people in low pay by 2025, lifting over two million people out of low pay
- Raise the National minimum wage to more than £8 before 2020
- Introduce new 10p starting rate of tax
- Use procurement to promote a living wage
- Extend free childcare for working parents and double paternity leave to four weeks
- Increase paternity pay so fathers receive the equivalent of a full week’s work paid at the National Minimum Wage for the four weeks of leave
- Justice at work
- Ensure proper access to justice in the workplace by abolishing the Government’s employment tribunal fee system
- Tackle bogus self-employment in construction and elsewhere
- Set up a full inquiry that is transparent and public to examine the issue of blacklisting
- Recognising historic cases, release all papers concerning the ‘Shrewsbury 24’ trials
- Supporting working families
- Stagnated wages and rising insecurity have fuelled a cost of living crisis.
- Full time workers in UK work some of the longest hours in Europe with a long-hours culture long-hours culture in many professions
- A shortage of well-paid part time jobs, lack of affordable childcare and an outdated parental leave system cause further difficulties for families
- Double the amount of paid paternity leave to four weeks
- Expand free child care provision from 15 to 25 hours
- Introduce a legal guarantee to wraparound care from 8am to 6pm at local primary schools
- Promoting partnership and productivity at work
In the long term, economic success will be rooted in high skill, high investment strategies. And Labour recognises that Trade Unions are an essential force for a decent society and as guarantors of jobs and wages.
- Nearly three-fifths of senior business leaders judge short-termism to be a major impediment to growth
- A chief executive in the FTSE 100 earn on average over 130 times their average employee
- Just 27 percent of employees feel that they have a say over how their work is organised
- Put employee representatives on remuneration committees
- Reduce short-term pressure to turn a quick profit
- Improve the link between pay and performance and ensure executive pay packages are transparent by publishing the ratio of the total pay of their top earner compared to their average employees
- Where recognised, ensure Unions play a role in facilitating elections, as well as supporting the training of employee representatives
- Give investors a duty to act in the interests of ordinary savers and prioritise the long-term growth of companies
- Change takeover rules by restricting voting to investors who already hold shares
- Require investment and pension fund managers to disclose how they vote and introduce binding votes on remuneration packages
- Review implementation and operation of information and consultation regulations
- Reverse the Department for International Development’s decision to withdraw funding from the ILO
- Tackle short-termism by reforming takeover rules
- Supporting young people into work
- Young people’s wages have fallen by over 8 per cent since 2010
- Just one in ten employers in England provide apprenticeships
- Proportion of apprenticeships taken up by young people has fallen significantly from 82 per cent of all apprenticeships in 2010 to 63 per cent last year.
- A quarter of apprentices aged 19-24 receive no training at all.
- Introduce a new apprenticeship Guarantee so that all those that get the grades at 18 are able to access a new high quality apprenticeship
- Ensure that every firm that gets a large government contract to offer apprenticeships
- Require large firms recruiting skilled workers from outside the Europe Union to invest in apprenticeships in the UK.
- Make sure that apprenticeships can lead to higher level qualifications
- Improve technical training for young people
- Ensure the government creates thousands more apprenticeships in the public sector