A job should be a source of pride, dignity and opportunity. But for millions of people across Britain, it’s not. That’s why today, Labour is launching a new campaign: to make Britain the best place to work.
My mum was a nurse. My dad was a toolmaker. Their working lives were hard – often harder than they should have been. But I saw how proud my dad was of his trade. How devoted my mum was to the NHS. And how their work gave them the opportunity to start a family.
But after a decade under the Conservatives, modern Britain is not working for working people. Family incomes have stagnated, millions of people are stuck in insecure work, and in-work poverty is at a record high – with one in six working families in poverty. The pandemic has brutally exposed these injustices, but they have been growing for years.
I want to live in a country where working life doesn’t produce anxiety or undue burdens for families. Good jobs can – and should – be the pillars upon which working people can build their lives. Everyone deserves pay you can bring up a family on, a decent work-life balance and opportunities to learn and develop new skills.
Labour grew out of the trade union movement to give a voice to working people. We will always be that voice. That’s why this summer we will campaign across our movement for a new deal for working people.
This shouldn’t be beyond our grasp. Britain is a wealthy country with a skilled, educated and dedicated workforce. We have world-leading universities, a proud manufacturing sector and expertise in services that are vital to any economy. We are the sixth largest economy in the world.
But for too many working people these economic strengths feel remote. Boasts about Britain’s economic performance inevitably ring hollow. The benefits are just not shared. The Conservative economic model has hollowed out local economies, with boarded-up high streets and young people forced to leave their hometowns in search of good quality jobs.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Over the coming months, Labour will be setting out how we change course. A new deal for working people based on five principles of good work.
First, security at work. We want to see better, fairer workplaces where workers have full rights from day one on the job. We would immediately outlaw fire and rehire. We’d offer a new right to work flexibly and strengthen our trade unions.
Second, quality jobs. We need a strong industrial strategy that uses government contracts to support British businesses, so that we buy, make and sell more in Britain. We must deliver investment in high-quality, well-paid green jobs in the industries of the future.
Third, a fairer economy. There should be a fair and level playing field on tax between multinational giants and local businesses on our high streets. And we need to tackle harassment and discrimination at work so everyone can get on.
Fourth, opportunity for all. We want a “jobs promise” for young people with a guarantee of quality education, training or employment. And we would create tens of thousands of apprenticeships by ending the Treasury raid of the apprenticeship levy.
Finally, and crucially, work that pays. Everyone deserves work that pays enough to raise a family on. We are campaigning for a real living wage of at least £10 an hour for all. We can also ensure more workers are covered by collective agreements which boost pay.
It often feels remote when politicians talk about this thing called ‘the economy’. But our economy is just the sum total of the work of the British people. If we create good work for everyone, we will all benefit. If we follow this path, we can build a better and stronger country. We can make Britain the best place to work.