What do the smaller parties offer workers?

Submitted by sglenister on Thu, 01/06/2017 - 15:56

01 June 2017

The Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP), Plaid Cymru, The Green Party and UKIP were all given a platform at last night's BBC Debate, but they didn't get the opportunity to share their plans for workers' rights.

Here, we provide a summary of the deals each party offers workers.



Some of the SNPs policies mirror those of Labour, such as scrapping employment tribunal fees (a move already legislated for in Scotland, where the SNP lead Parliament, but which have not yet come into effect); instituting a Real Living Wage; banning zero-hour contracts and repealing the Trade Union Act.

But they also have some unique elements in their workers' rights package such as setting up a Fair Work Commission, which would bring together representatives from unions, employers and the public sector to look at how workers' rights can be protected after Brexit.

The Party also wants to improve equality by introducing an equal pay audit on all companies of 150 workers or more, banning the use of separate dress codes for men and women, increasing the number of women in the boardroom, and providing a legal right for women returning to the workplace to breastfeed their children.

They are also one of only two parties – the other being Labour – to address the blacklisting scandal, which saw thousands of trade union activists illegally prevented from working in a conspiracy involving major employers in the construction industry. The SNP has already introduced measures in Scotland to exclude businesses found to be involved in blacklisting from bidding on public contracts and would now like to see this policy rolled out across the UK.

Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru promises to guarantee the right of all EU nationals to remain in the UK, and joins the Labour Party, Liberal Democrats, and SNP in their pledge to provide a real living wage.

They mark themselves out among other parties by promising a Human Rights Charter for Wales that will ensure every worker in the devolved nation has access to rights regardless of what happens to the Human Rights Act in Westminster if the Tories go forth with plans to change it to a so-called British Bill of Rights.

Green Party

The Green Party has joined the call for a ban on zero-hour contracts and a genuine living wage, as well as offering guaranteed rights to remain to all EU citiziens.

It also has a number of unique policy ideas, including offering investigating the possibility of a Universal Basic Income. This concept, which has gained a lot of interest in academic circles recently, involves providing all residents with the same statutory income regardless of whether or not they are in work. This works as a safety net for those who lose their jobs whilst making sure those in employment are still rewarded for their work.

The Greens also promise a four-day working week and propose scrapping the bandings of the minimum wage so that all people of all ages earn the living wage instead.

On equality, the Greens want to see a reduction in the gender pay gap and propose that company boards should consist of a minimum of 40% female employees.

The Greens are also one of the only other parties, alongside the SNP and Labour, to mention industrial relations. The Party says it would like to "revive the role of democratic trade unions", although it offers no detail on what form this would take.


UKIP offer little detail on its workers' rights proposals, except for to say it would tighten up on zero-hour contracts (falling short of banning them, like many other parties); and protect workers' rights after Brexit. However, the Party offers no further insight on how these aims would be achieved.

On equality law, UKIP wish to roll back current protections for workers by allowing discrimination in favour of British workers under the age of 25 over more qualified applicants from overseas; and a new law stating that employers must advertise all jobs to British citizens first.

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