‘Making Work Pay’ – workers’ rights in Labour’s 2024 Manifesto

Keir Starmer launched the party's manifesto, 'Change' at an event in Manchester on Thursday.

14 Jun 2024| News

The Labour Party unveiled their 2024 General Election Manifesto yesterday in Greater Manchester. For many weeks there has been speculation about what would be contained within it, especially on workers’ rights and a ‘New Deal for Working People’. The text on workers’ rights was couched within the economic growth section of the manifesto and headed ‘Making Work Pay’ and read:

“Greater in-work security, better pay, and more autonomy in the workplace improve the lives of working people and bring substantial economic benefits. Britain’s outdated employment laws are not fit for the modern economy, and recent Conservative legislation has fuelled hostility and confrontation leading to the worst period in industrial relations since the 1980s.

For too many people a job does not offer the route out of poverty it should: either because work is insecure, inflexible, or low paid; or because people face barriers when trying to move into a better job. Responsible businesses face being undercut when rights are not enforced properly.

Labour will stop the chaos and turn the page to create a partnership between business and trade unions, by implementing ‘Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay: Delivering a New Deal for Working People’ in full – introducing legislation within 100 days. We will consult fully with businesses, workers, and civil society on how to put our plans into practice before legislation is passed. This will include banning exploitative zero hours contracts; ending fire and rehire; and introducing basic rights from day one to parental leave, sick pay, and protection from unfair dismissal. We will strengthen the collective voice of workers, including through their trade unions, and create a Single Enforcement Body to ensure employment rights are upheld. These changes will improve the lives of working people across the entire UK.

Labour will also make sure the minimum wage is a genuine living wage. We will change the remit of the independent Low Pay Commission so for the first time it accounts for the cost of living. Labour will also remove the discriminatory age bands, so all adults are entitled to the same minimum wage, delivering a pay rise to hundreds of thousands of workers across the UK.

Labour will stop the chaos, turn the page, and kickstart economic growth by reforming our economy.”

The detailed commitments were outlined in a separate document, entitled ‘Labour’s Plan to Make Work Pay: Delivering A New Deal for Working People’, published on the 24th May. The introduction to the document read:

“Labour’s plan will make work pay. We’ll boost wages, make work more secure and support working people to thrive – delivering a genuine living wage, banning exploitative zero hour contracts, and ending fire and rehire.

Labour will back working people to take their voice back, improve their terms and conditions and ensuring protections at work are fit for the world today.

Labour’s plan to make work pay is a core part of our mission to grow Britain’s economy and raise living standards across the country.

If Britain votes for change in the General Election on Thursday 4 July, a Labour Government will need to hit the ground running. That is why we will introduce legislation in Parliament within 100 days of entering government.

Labour’s plan to make work pay will ensure more people stay in work, make work more family-friendly and improve living standards, putting more money in working people’s pockets to spend, boosting economic growth, resilience and conditions for innovation. Stronger trade unions and collective bargaining will be key to tackling problems of insecurity, inequality, discrimination, enforcement and low pay.

The last Labour government lifted basic minimum rights in the workplace by introducing the National Minimum Wage, the 48-hour working week, 28-days paid holiday, parental leave, and greater protection from unfair dismissal. The Tories opposed every one of them.

But today they are the cornerstone of our working lives. Labour, working with businesses and trade unions, has transformed the world of work before, and we can do so again. A step change is needed in how working people exercise control over their working lives, and businesses need urgent action to address our poor productivity.

Labour is pro-worker and pro-business, and we will work in partnership with trade unions and business to deliver our New Deal.”

You can read the full document here.