New Deal for Working People: policy platform ahead of Labour conference

via Labourlist

5 Oct 2023| News

Photo: UK Labour / Angela Rayner

Labourlist reports:

“Labour delegates will be asked to sign off the party’s wide-ranging current policy programme at annual conference, after years of work thrashing out positions on many issues.

The latest document was finalised and distributed internally within the party last month, setting out the most up-to-date and comprehensive statement yet of Labour’s current policy stances.

The 116-page document – seen by LabourList and summarised below – has taken years to compile as part of Labour’s National Policy Forum (NPF) process and builds on the draft programme created by party officials earlier this year.”

Here are the policies on employment rights and trade unions, summarised:

Provide a New Deal for Working People

  • Introduce a range of measures to help improve the world of work and tackle job insecurity, stagnant pay and the growth of in-work poverty. Bring forward legislation to implement it, including an employment rights bill, within 100 days of entering office
  • Start by establishing a new fair pay agreement in the adult social care sector. Consult widely on the design of the FPA and monitor the implementation, ensuring it delivers for workers and employers in the sector. Publish a full and transparent review of the agreement
  • Assess how and to what extent FPAs could benefit other sectors and tackle labour market challenges
  • Look to support and build on existing arrangements in other sectors, with other forms of collective bargaining being most appropriate in many areas
  • Introduce basic individual rights from day one for all workers
  • Act to promote a positive work-life balance for all workers
  • Not prevent fair dismissal, which includes dismissal for reasons of capability, conduct or redundancy, or probationary periods with fair and transparent rules and processes
  • Strengthen statutory sick pay, remove the lower earnings limit to make it available to all workers and remove the waiting period
  • Move towards a single status of worker and transition towards a simpler two-part framework for employment status
  • Consult in detail on how a simpler framework that differentiates between workers and the genuinely self-employed could properly capture the breadth of employment relationships in the UK, adapt to changing forms of employment and guard against a minority of employers using novel contractual forms to avoid legal obligations, while ensuring that workers can benefit from flexible working where they choose to do so
  • Evaluate the way flexibility of ‘worker’ status is used and understood across the workforce and the way it interacts with and is incorporated into collective agreements
  • Consider measures to provide accessible and authoritative information for people on their employment status and what rights they are owed
  • Strengthen rights and protections to help self-employed workers thrive in good quality self-employment, including the right to a written contract, action to tackle late payments and by extending health and safety and blacklisting protections to self-employed workers
  • End ‘one sided’ flexibility and ensure all jobs provide a baseline level of security and predictability, banning exploitative zero-hours contracts and ensuring everyone has the right to a contract that reflects the number of hours they regularly work, based on a 12-week reference period
  • Ongoing commitment to protecting the integrity of these policies, and will put in place anti-avoidance measures where necessary
  • Ensure all workers get reasonable notice of any change in shifts or working time, with compensation that is proportionate to the notice given for any shifts cancelled or curtailed
  • Strengthen the law to ensure hospitality workers receive their tips in full and workers decide how tips are allocated
  • Commit to tackling the gender pay gap
  • Put in place measures to ensure that outsourcing of services can no longer be used by employers to avoid paying equal pay
  • Strengthen equality impact assessments for public sector bodies
  • Implement a regulatory and enforcement unit for equal pay with involvement from trade unions
  • Restore the ability to draw on equal pay comparators where workers’ terms and conditions can be attributed to a single source
  • Require large firms to develop, publish and implement action plans to close their gender pay gaps and ensure outsourced workers are included in their gender pay gap and pay ratio reporting
  • Make the publication of ethnicity and disability pay gaps mandatory for employers with more than 250 staff
  • Require employers to create and maintain workplaces and working conditions free from harassment, including by third parties
  • Make flexible working the default from day one for all workers, except where it is not reasonably feasible
  • Work with workers and their trade unions, employers and experts to examine what AI and new technologies mean for work, jobs and skills and how to promote best practice in safeguarding against the invasion of privacy through surveillance technology, spyware and discriminatory algorithmic decision-making
  • At a minimum, ensure that proposals to introduce surveillance technologies would be subject to consultation and agreement of trade unions or elected staff representatives where there is no trade union
  • Commit to modernising health and safety guidance with reference to extreme temperatures, preventative action and steps to ensure safety at work
  • End the scourges of ‘fire and rehire’ and ‘fire and replace’, replace the inadequate statutory code and reform the law to provide effective remedies against abuse
  • Establish a single enforcement body, with trade union and TUC representation, to ensure greater coordination in the face of complex enforcement challenges
  • Strengthen redundancy rights and protections, to protect workers’ individual and collective rights
  • Improve and strengthen enforcement through employment tribunals to provide quicker and more effective resolutions
  • Increase the time limit within which employees are able to make an employment claim from three months to six months
  • Make sure the minimum wage is a real living wage by changing the Low Pay Commission’s remit so that alongside median wages and economic conditions, the minimum wage will for the first time reflect the need for pay to take into account the cost of living
  • Remove the discriminatory age bands to ensure every adult worker benefits. Work with the single enforcement body and HMRC and ensure they have the powers necessary to make sure our genuine living wage is properly enforced, including penalties for non-compliance
  • Work with the single enforcement body and HMRC to ensure the national minimum wage regulations on travel time in sectors with multiple working sites is enforced and that workers’ contracts reflect the law
  • Work with the Low Pay Commission, trade unions, employers, the Council for Economic Growth and more to address the ongoing issue of low pay

Support trade unions

  • Repeal the Trade Union Act 2016, the minimum service levels (strikes) bill and the conduct of employment agencies and employment businesses (amendment) regulations 2022
  • Update trade union legislation, so it is fit for a modern economy, removing unnecessary restrictions on trade union activity and ensuring industrial relations are based around good faith negotiation and bargaining
  • Allow modern, secure, electronic balloting and workplace ballots, while ensuring high standards of engagement and participation are maintained
  • Act to ensure that union members and workers are able to access a union at work through a regulated and responsible route where there is support within the workforce
  • Introduce rights for trade unions to access workplaces in a regulated and responsible manner, for recruitment and organising purposes
  • Ensure reasonable access within workplaces by introducing a transparent framework and clear rules, designed in consultation with unions and business, that allow unions officials to meet, represent, recruit and organise members, provided they give appropriate notice and comply with reasonable requests of the employer
  • Formally monitor these reasonable and regulated new rules, to ensure trade union officials and workplaces are complying with their responsibilities and obligations and that rules allowing access are used proportionately and effectively
  • Simplify the process of union recognition and the law around statutory recognition threshold
  • Ensure workers in precarious and gig-economy sectors have a meaningful right to organise through trade unions, modernising rules to ensure they are fit for an economy with growing platform sectors and a rise in remote and home working
  • Review the process for statutory recognition claims
  • Create new rights and protections for trade unions reps to undertake their work, strengthening protections for trade union representatives against unfair dismissal and union members from intimidation, harassment, threats and blacklisting
  • Encourage employers and trade unions to negotiate signing up to the Dying To Work Charter. Work with trade unions and others to ensure that workers diagnosed with a terminal illness are treated with respect, dignity and supported at work
  • Ensure there is sufficient facilities time for all trade union reps so that they have capacity to represent and defend workers, negotiate with employers and train as well as create fairer workplaces and tackle gender and other equality pay gaps
  • Introduce statutory rights for trade union equality reps in order to strengthen equality at work for all