Johnson under pressure to boost workers’ rights, TUC poll finds

Elliot Chappell

Boris Johnson is under pressure from voters to safeguard and boost workers’ rights, a new poll from the TUC has revealed.

The research, released today, asked people for their views on employment rights, taxation and the funding of public services.

73% of respondents said that the government must protect and enhance workplace rights that are currently guaranteed by the EU, such as paid holiday.

Commenting on the findings, the TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We know many in Boris Johnson’s cabinet who want to drive down labour standards. But there is little appetite in Britain for de-regulation and further tax cuts for the rich –including among Conservative voters.

“The Prime Minister has no more excuses. Voters expect him to protect and strengthen rights at work. And they want him to get on with investing in our public services and boosting wages.”

82% of voters supported increasing funding for the NHS by 4.3% a year – 59% said they would be willing to pay more in tax to fund public services properly while only 31% said they wouldn’t.

68% wanted to see the minimum wage immediately increased to £10 per hour. This included 76% of people who switched from Labour to the Tories in the election earlier this month.

The data showed widespread support, at 66%, for banning zero-hours contracts while 63% supported having union rights in every workplace.

The TUC’s poll also showed that 71% of people want new rights for gig economy workers, including 65% of Conservative voters and 78% of those who shifted away from Labour in the election.

The poll was conducted by GQR and the vice president, Peter McLeod, said: “The Conservatives won voters from Labour and elsewhere with reassurances that they would protect workers’ rights, raise the minimum wage and boost funding for the NHS and schools.

“We know people had doubts about Boris Johnson’s integrity, and if the Conservatives fail to keep their promises a lot of those gains will be at risk.”

This polling follows the Queen’s Speech last week, after which Boris Johnson was accused of breaking promises that his party had made during the general election.

The Conservatives pledged to raise the national living wage – the minimum wage for people over 25 – to £10.50 but now say this will only happen “provided economic conditions allow”.

Labour pledged to raise the minimum wage to £10 for everyone over the age of 16, which would have given 7.5 million low-paid workers a pay rise.

The party also would have banned zero-hour contracts, and had committed to strengthening and enforcing trade unions’ right of entry to workplaces.

The Labour Party’s manifesto at the general election would have been funded, in part, by an increase in taxes for the top 5% of earners – those paid over £80,000 per year.

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