On the eve of Labour Party National Policy Forum (NPF) meeting, which will help to clarify its policy agenda prior to the next General Election, the Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU) have laid out a set of clear demands to Labour, which they believe are urgently required in order to help working people.
Their demands, many of which are based on the Labour Party Document ‘A New Deal for Working People’, come after their own cost of living survey that showed clearly the challenges facing their members in the food industry; including the struggle to meet their basic needs like eating and heating their homes.
To alleviate the pressures facing their members the BFAWU are clear that the Labour NPF should commit the Party to ending in-work poverty with an at least £15 an hour minimum wage; tackling insecurity in the workplace through the abolition of zero hour contracts; improved health and safety; the repeal of anti-trade union laws and the right of unions to organise in every workplace.
With food prices continuing to soar, the BFAWU is also calling for action to tackle supermarket profiteering, alongside price controls on basic essentials, a legal Right to Food and the provision of universal free school meals.
The Labour Party NPF, and BFAWU demands, comes amidst increasing concerns at the policy direction of the Labour leadership, exemplified by the recent furore provoked by Labour leader Keir Starmer saying that an incoming Labour Government will not abolish the Tory 2-child welfare cap policy.
Bakers Union General Secretary Sarah Woolley said:
“The Labour National NPF has an opportunity this weekend to put clear red water between the Tories and the Labour Party. Our members both want and need policies that will show clearly how an incoming Labour Government will help them.
The message from our recent survey could not have been stronger; workers need a pay rise. In-work poverty must end and a Labour Government must end it by introducing a £15 an hour minimum wage, tackling insecurity in the workplace and strengthening trade union rights; if it doesn’t and has no plan to, then people will understandably question what is the point of the Labour Party. The clue is in the name and if you want to be called the Labour Party then you must be the party of Labour in deeds not just words.”
Bakers Union President Ian Hodson said:
“Our members voted to disaffiliate from Labour two years ago because they saw the writing on the wall when Sir Keir Starmer refused to back calls for a £15 an hour Minimum Wage. Now he’s ruling out free school meals – letting children go hungry – and even keeping the Tory two-child limit on Universal Credit. What’s next for the axe? The mind boggles. Workers want to see the back of the Tories, but they want to see an end to Tory policies too.
He’s being dubbed “Sir Kid Starver” on social media. This could stick, like “Maggie Thatcher, milk snatcher”. If they are serious about Labour being relevant to the lives of working people, party members need to stand up to Starmer this weekend.”