Labour Party’s New Deal Get Business Leaders Support

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Photo Credits: Jon Tyson via Unsplash

As the general election draws closer, the Labour Party’s new deal for workers is published, with the title “Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay”. Low pay, insecure work, and exploitative contracts are just a few of the issues which the Labour Party pledges to address should it come into power, along with simplifying the employment status framework in the UK.

See below to find out more about the Labour Party’s new deal for workers and the various responses it has evoked.

What Is the Labour Party’s New Deal for Workers?

Strengthening Employees’ Rights

The Labour Party has vowed to enhance employment rights in the UK and ensure that these are accessible to all employees. Under current legislation, such employment rights as protection from unfair dismissal are only available to employees after two years of continuous service with their employer.

However, the Labour Party’s new deal for workers purports to extend these rights with the effect that they will be accessible to all employees from the beginning of their employment. The Labour Party also plans to increase the availability of parental leave and sick pay.

Read: TUC’s Paul Nowak Says Labour’s New Deal
for Working People Will Be a “Gamechanger”

Another element of employment which the Labour Party proposes to address is that of zero-hours contracts, which it dubs as “exploitative” and purports to ban. In addition, the Labour Party’s new deal for workers will enhance the protections available to employees in circumstances of redundancy, whistleblowing, and transfer of employees when a business is sold or restructured.

Employment Status Framework

The Labour Party’s new deal for workers also plans to alter the employment status framework in the UK which, it claims, currently demands an “encyclopaedic knowledge of case law” to understand. Presently, the framework comprises three tiers whereby a person may be classed as an employee, a worker, or self-employed.

The Labour Party’s plans involve consulting on a new framework which would “differentiate between workers and the genuine self-employed” and the ways in which this could “properly capture the breadth of employment relationships in the UK.”

The current system has been criticised for its convolution, and the new deal proposes to provide people with “accessible and authoritative information” on determining their employment status and their associated rights. Many employment rights apply only to employees (not workers or the self-employed), and Labour has stated that its proposed new framework would “[tackle] instances where some employers can use complexity to avoid legal obligations.”

Wages and Industrial Relations

The calculation of the national minimum wage is another aspect of employment which the Labour Party’s new deal for workers seeks to amend. Whilst currently taking into account economic conditions and median wages, Labour proposes that this should also consider the cost of living, ideally bringing wages more in line with employees’ necessary outgoings. In the adult social care sector, Labour has confirmed plans to put in place a new Fair Pay Agreement and consider how similar agreements might benefit other sectors.

Read: National Living Wage to Increase in 2024
But it May Still Fall Short of Real Living Wage

The Labour Party is planning to refresh relations between employers, trade unions, and the government, aiming to achieve “more cooperation and less disruption” in this regard. It has stated that this is necessary following the Conservative Party’s “scorched-earth approach” to such industrial relations.

Business Leaders’ Response to Labour Party’s New Deal

The Labour Party’s new deal for workers has largely been greeted with support and enthusiasm by business leaders across the UK. In a letter sent to The Times newspaper earlier this week, 120 such present and former business leaders publicly endorsed the Labour Party’s new deal for workers, in an attempt to persuade others to do the same. These include UK president of WPP Karen Blackett, former CEO of Heathrow John Holland-Kaye, former chair of the Financial Conduct Authority Charles Randell, and executive chairman of Iceland Foods Richard Walker.

The letter praised Labour’s proposals for change, stating “We are looking for a government that will partner fiscal discipline with a long-term growth strategy, working in partnership with the private sector to drive innovation and investment to build digital and physical capital and fix our skills system.”

General Secretary of Unison Christina McAnea is similarly supportive of the Labour Party’s new deal for workers, contrasting the proposed approach with that of the Conservative Party which has “persistently let working people down”.

She has stated that Labour’s plans will “make work fairer and boost the economy too… Bad employers will no longer be able to outprice good ones by cutting corners and reducing costs by exploiting staff.”

Read: Workers Bill Receives Royal Assent: Better Working Patterns to Come!

On the other hand, Sharon Graham, general secretary of Unite, has voiced concerns about the potential success of the plans. Speaking of the Labour Party’s new deal for workers, she said that the “number of caveats and getouts means it is in danger of becoming a bad bosses’ charter”, adding that it “had more holes in it than Swiss cheese.”

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