Angela Rayner declared the battle to win over voters at the next general election is “getting started” as she revealed Labour’s vision to boost workers’ rights.
In a speech at the TUC conference in Liverpool, Labour’s deputy leader gave a “cast iron commitment” to push through an employment rights bill in the party’s first 100 days in office, should it get into Downing Street.
The New Deal for Working People would include protections against unfair dismissal, a ban on zero-hour contracts, more flexible working and ending fire and rehire (when an employer fires an employee and offers them a new contract on new, often less-favourable terms).
Ms Rayner also promised to repeal the government’s “vicious” anti-trade union laws, such as its controversial minimum service levels bill.
She said the legislation – which requires minimum levels of service during a strike – is a “spiteful and bitter attack that threatens nurses with the sack”.
She told the conference: “Strike is a last resort but a fundamental freedom that must be respected.”
Ms Rayner also promised to ban the “blacklisting” of union reps and workers, expand the role of unions to allow for more collective bargaining on pay and conditions, give unions a legal right to access workplaces and to raise the living wage.
She said: “This isn’t only good for workers. It’s essential to growing the economy and raising living standards once more.”
The speech comes after some unions questioned Labour’s commitment to workers’ rights and accused the party of not being bold enough.
But urging unity among the trade union movement, Ms Rayner said: “The battle for the general election is getting started and it’s not going to be easy. This country can’t survive another five years of Tory rule.
“There is no doubt that Labour has to win but to get this victory we have to come together, stand together and campaign side by side.
“And we need your help to get the word out about the New Deal for Working People.”
This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.
Please refresh the page for the fullest version.