Justin Madders on the New Deal for Working People: ‘Better pay will end the self-defeating low wage’

The MP for Ellesmere Port and Shadow Minister for Business, Employment Rights and Levelling up writes in the Chester Standard

5 Apr 2024| News

Justin Madders, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Worker’s Rights has this week spoken about the central role of the New Deal for Working People in tackling endemic low pay and the development of “high-quality, secure, rewarding jobs.” In a piece written for the Chester Standard, Madders explains the logic behind the reforms thus:

“Boosting people’s income is not just the right thing for them, it is also the right thing for our economy. Better pay will end the self-defeating low wage, low investment and low productivity cycle that the country has been trapped in for the last decade. It will also help to tackle the cost of living crisis by ensuring everyone is paid enough to live on.”

He discusses the protections planned by an incoming Labour government, including legislation to ban zero hours contracts and ‘fire and rehire’:

“Labour will strengthen protections afforded to all workers by banning zero-hours contracts, ending fire and rehire and scrapping qualifying periods for basic rights, which leave working people waiting up to two years for basic protections. This will include unfair dismissal, sick pay and parental leave, giving working people rights at work from day one.”

Madders also tackled the recent press speculation about the ‘watering down’ of Labour’s workers’ rights plans, saying:

“Our country remains riven by inequalities which Labour is focused on fixing – to ensure the working people who create our nation’s wealth get their fair share of it. Rather than stacking the odds against working parents, we will deliver stronger family-friendly rights. Of course there will be ongoing discussions with both business leaders and union bosses as we work through the details, but we are confident that the changes we propose are in the long-term interests of our nation. However, as the general election draws nearer and focus intensifies on what a potential Labour Government would mean for the country we will get scrutiny and challenge on our policies. This has meant that have been a number of speculative stories about various elements of our New Deal for Working People; I believe that the more people hear about how these policies can make a positive difference to many people’s lives, the better.”

The Institute of Employment Rights worked on several iterations of the New Deal for Working People, and previous to the Green Paper published by Andy McDonald MP in September 2021, leading employment rights specialists such as John Hendy KC and Professor Keith Ewing had developed a comprehensive plan, foregrounding day one rights, the equalisation of worker status and sectoral collective bargaining. The IER and its experts are of the opinion that the New Deal needs to be implemented in full to be effective – indeed, it is just the start of the fundamental shift in relations between workers and employers that is needed, both in terms of the welfare and prosperity of workers and health of the economy. You can read more about the IER’s work on the reform of labour law and employment rights here.