A LABOUR PARTY UNDER MY LEADERSHIP WILL GIVE YOU THE POWER TO TRANSFORM YOUR WORKPLACE
Earnings in Britain have fallen for a decade. In many communities job opportunities are scarce. Millions face insecurity at work because of unscrupulous bosses like Philip Green and Mike Ashley. The share of this country’s wealth going to those who work has hit an all-time low. And yet profits have hit record highs. Instead of investing for the future, too many companies have relied on cheap labour.
More than ever, we need a powerful voice in the workplace. It’s trade unions that provide working people with that voice. I’ve been a trade unionist all my working life. I’ve supported our trade unions through thick and thin because I know that when workers face bosses prepared to cut corners on wages, or when they face discrimination at work, or when they have the threat of redundancy held over them – that’s when you need a trade union with you and fighting your corner. And without that voice on our side, it is too easy for the unscrupulous firms to get away with it. We cannot have poor employers undermining those businesses doing the right thing.
So we need stronger trade unions. It’s good for those who work because they have their rights protected. And since the evidence shows a trade union voice helps make better-run companies, it’s good for the whole economy.
Because we know that too many decisions are taken in our big companies that only look to the short-term interests of some owners, instead of thinking about the long-term success of the company. That approach meant Philip Green could drive a profitable high-street name into the ground, trashing jobs and pensions, whilst paying his family the biggest dividend in British history.
I think we need to change how business is done in this country. We’ve focused too much on short-term profits, and not enough on the long-term investment that can deliver well-paid, secure jobs.
As Labour leader, I will be fighting for the next Labour government to be taking the first steps in transforming our economy to end exploitation so that no one is left behind.
These are the first steps:
BAN ZERO-HOURS CONTACTS
No ifs, no buts, and no get-out clauses. We have to end the misery and insecurity that zero-hours contracts produce. It’s not right that in wealthy country like ours, nearly 1m should be living without knowing when or if the next pay cheque will arrive.
New Zealand’s Parliament has just unanimously passed a law banning zero hours contracts there. It works by making sure that every employment contract specifies the minimum number of hours to be worked, in black and white. And then if the employer wants to have the option of additional hours, they must make an “on-call” payment to compensate.
Already it has had an impact. Big retail chains, including high street names from the UK, have shifted to offering fixed-hours contracts. We’ll introduce legislation here based on the New Zealand model.
MANDATORY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING FOR LARGER COMPANIES
In an economy where people come first, and profit follows, we should make collective bargaining mandatory for larger companies. This means that the employer would have to consult with staff representatives before making changes that would impact on their work – whether that’s pay, working hours, pensions, or anything else.
REPEALING THE TRADE UNION ACT
The Tories’ vicious attack on working rights is going to leave working people even more open to exploitation, and undermine the ability of unions to represent their members. The laws on balloting are fundamentally undemocratic, as even some Tories have argued. We’ll repeal it in office.
“PHILIP GREEN LAW” TO STOP RAIDS ON COMPANIES
Philip Green loaded BHS up with debt so he could pay fat dividends to himself and his family – bigger dividends than BHS’ entire profit!
We’ll put in place the changes to company law that will ban owners paying out dividends funded with excessive debt.
STOP DEBT-FUELLED TAKEOVERS
We’ll change company law, and alter the Takeover Code, so that corporate raiders can’t use excessive borrowing to buy up a company and strip it bare. We’ll prevent takeovers where the new owners can’t make clear how they will pay for the pension fund. We want company owners that think about the long term.