Keir Starmer will address the labour movement this morning. In his keynote speech at TUC Congress 2021, the opposition leader is set to declare that a future Labour government would deliver a “new deal for workers” to ensure that they are “paid properly, not taxed unfairly”. He is expected to say: “Under the Conservatives’ unfair plans, working families across the country don’t get a pay rise but will get a tax rise. Ensuring good quality secure work, underpinned with employment rights fit for the reality of modern working, is not only good for employees, but it’s good for business, and is part of getting our economy firing on all cylinders.”
The ‘new deal for workers’ commits Labour to: a minimum wage of at least £10 an hour (the 2019 manifesto pledged to introduce a £10 real living wage); rights for all workers from their first day on the job, including holiday pay, parental leave, protection from unfair dismissal; the right to flexible working and “requesting shifts that fit around family life”; banning ‘fire and rehire’; an end to zero-hours contracts. These measures are a reiteration of Labour’s ‘make Britain the best place to work’ campaign over the summer, which were announced by Starmer along with Angela Rayner but didn’t get quite the media attention they deserved.
I would not be surprised if these policies got another airing at Labour conference, because it looks as if the party is finally putting into practice the lesson that saying something once and moving on doesn’t work – especially in opposition. The LabourList team needs to be bored to death of hearing the same pledges and phrases before anyone outside Westminster has heard of them. The way that the ‘new deal for workers’ is being pitched also fits in with Starmer’s favoured themes, likely to be prominent in his party conference speech, of family and security.
Starmer is combining the Labour proposals with criticism of the Tory plans to raise taxes and cut Universal Credit today. Angela Eagle has written for LabourList on the same subject, highlighting the impact that these moves will have on millions of households. Also on LabourList, we have details of the proportional representation motions being sent to Labour conference, which look to be the most popular subject among local parties. Check out our write-up for the numbers and how this could play out on the conference floor. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.