At the Labour Party Conference and National Annual Women’s Conference, the Labour Party announced its intention to improve workers’ rights in the UK. This blog will highlight some of the proposals in the Labour Party’s vision for workers’ rights in the UK, if elected into power.
The Labour Party has published a Green Paper titled “A New Deal for Working People”, which states “from day one, a Labour government will strengthen workers’ rights and make Britain work for working people“. The paper pledges to introduce legislation aimed at addressing pay, security, inequality and discrimination in the UK within 100 days of being elected into power.
The reforms set out in “A New Deal for Working People” include:
- increasing the National Minimum Wage to at least £10 per hour for all workers and ensuring that the National Living Wage addresses the rising costs of living;
- banning all unpaid internships (except where part of an education or training course);
- making “fire and rehire” practices unlawful;
- creating a single status of “worker” for all, excluding those who are self-employed;
- granting workers “basic employment rights from day one” by removing the qualifying periods for employment rights;
- introducing stronger family-friendly rights and reviewing the shared parental leave system to incentivise the sharing of leave between parents; and
- enabling trade unions to “stand up for their members” and boosting collective bargaining.
Further details of exactly what these reforms would entail will no doubt be published in the run-up to an election.
At the conference, the Labour Party also committed to tackling workplace harassment and to implement a new statutory code of practice outlining the obligations on employers. Emily Thornberry MP, Shadow Attorney General, advocates for individuals who report sexual harassment at work being entitled to the same protections and damages as whistleblowers. The Labour Party stated that it will require employers to create and maintain workplaces and working conditions that are free from harassment, including from third parties.
The Shadow Secretary for Women and Equalities, Anneliese Dodds, also declared that, if it became the next government, the Labour Party would implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into UK law. This would be done by introducing measures such as mandatory disability pay gap reporting for larger businesses and helping workers to secure reasonable adjustments from their employers. Furthermore, the Labour Party said it intends to introduce a new Race Equality Act to address structural racism. A key aspect of this Act would be resolving low wage issues among ethnic minorities and imposing fines on organisations that fail to take appropriate action based on their pay data.
The Labour Party’s commitment to implementing legislation within 100 days of being elected may seem optimistic but the party has said it will work with trade unions, workers and employers to build on this commitment from now until the next general election.