Blog: Power, wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many, not the few

Labour has announced a wide-ranging plan to strengthen workers’ rights and turn the tide of the Conservative’s attacks on working people. What has been proposed by Labour is a plan to transform employees’ rights, which could change the lives of millions of working people for the better.

Over the past seven years, the Conservatives have ushered in an era of low pay and insecure work. Six million people are currently earning less than the living wage and, according to the Trussell Trust, the number one cause of foodbank usage is low pay.

After years of government failure, our country is crying out for a different and better approach – strengthening rights at work, making sure new jobs are good jobs, and ending the race to the bottom in pay, conditions and job security. It’s time to rebalance our economy in favour of the many, put a stop to the fall in living standards and put more money in people’s pockets.

These are just some of the key issues on which the election should be decided.

Today’s announcement shows that the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn understand the need to build a different and better world of work. That means trade unionists continuing to play a vital role in representing people at work, tackling inequality and campaigning and negotiating for decent pay, safe workplaces and good employment conditions.

So as UNISON General Secretary, I welcome Labour’s commitment to repealing the Trade Union Act, rammed through by the Conservatives, which represents the most serious attack on the rights of trade unionists in a generation and undermines the ability of workers to organise collectively in defence of their jobs and livelihoods.

Theresa May and her government have shown through their attacks on working people whose side they are really on.

In contrast, the Labour Party’s plan places it squarely on the side of working people. For all the Prime Minister’s rhetoric, it’s Labour who’s really on the side of those who are ‘just about managing’.

Raising the minimum wage to the level of the living wage so that no one in work gets poverty pay.

Ending the public sector pay cap so our vital public servants receive the wages they need and deserve. Amending the takeover code to ensure every takeover proposal has a clear plan in place to protect workers and pensioners. These are serious policies that will make a real difference to the lives of millions of workers.

When Labour wins, it’s the nurses, the care workers and the teaching assistants who win. Not unscrupulous bosses who seek to exploit Britain’s workforce.

With a million people on zero-hours contracts, Labour’s commitment to banning them will come as a huge relief to the many people who have no idea how many hours they will work and how much they will earn from week to week. Such precarious employment practices make any prospect of saving or getting a mortgage impossible. Exploitative contracts that give unscrupulous bosses the freedom to use and abuse their staff should have no place in our UK economy.

And banning unpaid internships will help equalise opportunities for those starting out on their careers. It cannot be fair for some to get a leg up while others can’t afford to take those same opportunities because they have no support to pay for food, rent or travel while they work for free.

Britain’s workers deserve a share in the wealth they create, but the Conservatives and Theresa May will never let that happen. The government’s priorities are clear, on the side of big businesses and a wealthy few at the expense of ordinary people.

When people go to vote on 8 June they should know that if they vote Labour, they will be voting for a shift in the balance of power both within their workplaces and the wider British economy.

It’s a vote for putting power, wealth and opportunity in the hands of the many, not the few.
This blog was first published by the Huffington Post.