Labour Party Conference 2017 - Preparing for Power: Labour rights under a Labour government

Submitted by sglenister on Wed, 20/09/2017 - 16:05

The Institute of Employment Rights will be at the 2017 Labour Party Conference, putting forward our policies for progressive labour law reform, which have been developed as part of our Manifesto for Labour Law Project.

This year, our theme is Preparing for Power, and we will be sharing the outcomes of Phase 2 of our Manifesto for Labour Law project, and sharing our plans for Phase 3.

Our stall

Come visit us on our stall, where you can pick up:

Our fringe

Many thanks to everyone who attended our fringe on Monday 25 September 2017. See below the tweets from the event.

The Manifesto for Labour Law

A Manifesto for Labour Law: towards a comprehensive revision of workers’ rights was published by the IER in 2016. Drafted by 15 leading labour lawyers and academics from some of the most prestigious universities in the UK, the publication put forth 25 recommendations for reform.

The Manifesto for Labour Law picked up widespread support within the labour movement, but also within the Labour Party, which drew from the proposals to draw up its 20-point Fair Deal for Workers - a key component of the Party's 2017 General Election Manifesto For the Many, Not the Few.

What are our policies?

Our key proposal is to shift the focus of labour law from statutory minimum rights to collective bargaining, allowing workers to organise and negotiate for higher wages and conditions within not only their companies but across entire sectors.

Sectoral collective bargaining would lead to wage and condition floors being set across industries, which can be built on at company level. This would lead to higher pay and better conditions, adding to workers' job security and income. As the population accrues greater spending power, demand for products and services will increase, leading businesses to add to their workforce, and thus creating new jobs.

We also recommend that the definition of the legal term 'worker' is reviewed, as currently many people working in the burgeoning so-called "gig" economy (such as Uber drivers, Deliveroo workers, some agency workers, and people on zero-hours contracts) legally fall outside of the eligibility criteria for basic workers rights, such as sick pay. By reconsidering how labour law works in the context of the "gig" economy, we can ensure that companies are not able to simply dodge employment law by misclassifying their workers as "self employed" or by hiring them on contracts that offer no security.

In addition, our policies recommend taking another look at the way that employment law is enforced to ensure there are repercussions for those who break the rules. We propose having labour inspectors within workplaces to make sure the law is followed, labour courts specifically focused on employment cases, and sanctioning unscrupulous employers including through criminal proceedings for extreme breaches such as the blacklisting of trade union members.

Four target areas for reform

As part of Phase 2 of our Manifesto for Labour Law project, we identified four target areas for reform: giving workers a voice, reclaiming stronger statutory rights, enforcing our rights, and protecting trade unions.

Click on the icons below to see more details of some of our policies in each of these areas:

Four-page policy summary

Click here to download the PDF or view online in the box below

Support from the Labour Party

Support from the labour movement

Promoting Popular Policies: A New Deal for Workers Timeline

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