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25/11/2019 - Unions line up behind Labour Manifesto

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The Labour Party manifesto sets out a series of employment measures it says will transform workers’ pay, conditions and rights.
Among them are the “rapid” introduction of a real living wage of at least £10 an hour for over-16s and repeal of anti-trade union legislation.

Labour would also cut the working week to 32 hours within a decade with no loss of pay, introduce four new bank holidays and ban zero-hours contracts.

The measures will be enforced by a new ministry of employment rights, which Labour said will give workers a voice at the Cabinet table.

Unions have lined up behind Labour welcoming the employment pledges, saying they would change the lives of millions of people for the better.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: 
This is a fantastic offer from Labour to the electorate.

When Labour wins, nurses win, teachers win, manufacturing workers win, car workers win, young people win and pensioners win.

Collective bargaining will also be rolled out across the economy, bringing workers and employers together to agree on legal minimum standards on pay and hours.

Workers will be given full employment rights from the first day in a job, a single status of “worker” will be created to end bogus self-employment, while workers will be given extra protection against unfair dismissal.

The party said it will help people balance work and family life by requiring breaks during shifts to be paid, giving everyone the right to flexible working, extending statutory maternity pay from nine to 12 months and doubling paternity leave to four weeks.

Employers will be required to draw up plans to eradicate the gender pay gap or face fines and make sure workplaces are free of harassment.

GMB general secretary Tim Roache said: 
Anyone who lives in the real world knows that things just aren’t working.

A decade of cuts delivered by out of touch Tory Governments has left our NHS at breaking point, our schools crumbling and local Government on its knees.

We have a list of crises as long as my arm – a social care crisis, a skills crisis, a manufacturing crisis, a standard of living crisis.

Food banks are now the norm, insecure work is a business model for bad bosses. The number of homeless people you see every time you walk down the street is heart-breaking.

This is the track record Boris Johnson is taking to the ballot box.

We need real change, not tinkering around the edges of a system that was built by millionaires, in the interests of millionaires.

Labour’s manifesto shows how different things could be – the very richest in society paying their fair share to fund services we all rely on and build an economy that works for everyone.

There’s a real choice at this election, this manifesto would change the lives of millions of people for the better.

ASLEF general secretary Mick Whelan said:
This manifesto is a game-changer for our railway.

"Whether it’s re-opening branch lines, the rolling programme of electrification or the commitments on HS2 to Scotland and Crossrail for the North, this is a radical plan for the network and one that will put it back into public ownership. 

Rail freight will also be expanded as well as the provision of publicly owned rail freight. We must always remember that our industry is key in the fight against climate change.

It’s brilliant to see we have a Labour leader who listens to the workforce and passengers. This manifesto demonstrates that they see the railway as a public service, not a cash cow. Nothing shows this more than the promise to end driver-only operation and put a second member of staff on all trains. This is something ASLEF has campaigned on for 30 years".

Usdaw general secretary Paddy Lillis said: 
This manifesto offers the country and particularly working people genuine hope for real change.

Ending in-work poverty would be one of Labour’s greatest achievements; it is the scourge of modern society. The Government disgracefully failed to act on the evidence our ‘Time for Better Pay’ campaign produced, so we are delighted that Labour has listened and taken on board our policy recommendations.

Insecure low-paid work is causing many families a great deal of hardship as they struggle to make ends meet and have no guaranteed income from week to week. So Labour’s £10 per hour for all workers, an end to zero-hour employment, contracts that reflect workers hours and scrapping the universally discredited Universal Credit are very welcome and will make a real difference to our members and millions of workers.

Labour has listened to Usdaw’s ‘Save our Shops’ campaign and is committed to developing a retail sector industrial strategy including a review of the business rates system to make it fairer for bricks and mortar retailers.

Our country is crying out for change, a different direction that will bring hope and prosperity. This manifesto shows that Labour is the party that will deliver a future that works for all. Labour has listened to our member's concerns and set out a programme to address them. Usdaw is urging our members to register to vote, use their vote, and to vote Labour."

Prospect deputy general secretary Garry Graham said:
We welcome that Labour has recognised the need to invest in public sector pay to restore incomes and ease the recruitment and retention crisis faced by areas of the sector.

Public servants have borne the brunt of the pay squeeze in recent years and it is only right that they receive real terms pay rises in the years ahead.

We look forward to other parties setting out similar plans to invest in our public sector and the people who work in it.

RCM executive director for external relations Jon Skewes said: 
We are happy to see a commitment to putting the terms and conditions of Agenda for Change into law with safe staffing limits not just for midwives, but for all NHS staff.

We are currently short 2,500 midwives in England alone and understaffing can compromise safety. The pledge to restore public sector pay by delivering year-on-year above-inflation pay rises is welcomed and will go towards improving recruitment and retention.

The RCM manifesto includes asks to improve maternal mental health care for women so the pledge to introduce mental health assessments after birth is something the RCM supports. Unfortunately, the current reality is over one-third of UK maternity services do not employ any specialist maternal mental health midwives. That is why the RCM is calling for all NHS trusts in England to employ maternal mental health specialist midwives so women can get the support they need and deserve.

The RCM also welcomes promises for mental health support for NHS staff this is crucial along with creating an NHS that is free from harassment, bullying and violence, but we would like to see a more detailed plan on how the party intends to tackle this.

The re-introduction of a training bursary for midwives is something the RCM welcomes and has campaigned for. We know how much financial pressure our student midwives are under since the removal of the bursary in 2017 and the impact that is having on potential students who no longer see midwifery as an attractive career due to the financial costs it entails to now train.

If we are to see ‘real change’ as the Labour leader has put it we will need to see a real increase in long-term investment in the NHS because without that none of these promises will come to fruition. The RCM agrees with the Labour party that our most valuable assets are the dedicated people who work in our public services so let’s ensure NHS workers known how valued they are by turning these promises into a reality.

NEU joint general secretary Kevin Courtney said: 
This manifesto shows that Labour understands the serious problems facing education and facing children.

Their promises include credible plans to relieve the heavy pressures on staff and to lift children out of poverty. Children only get one chance at education. The National Education Union welcomes Labour’s fresh vision for an education system that puts children first and foremost."

The NEU asked each party to value education and make pledges on funding and the Labour party has met our tests on funding. We think the promise to stop the cuts and instead to invest in education will command voter support because parents want qualified and specialist teachers, value teaching assistants, worry about increasing class size, and expect high quality support if their child has special educational needs and disabilities.

Teachers will be relieved to hear that the education funding pledges in the Labour manifesto match the demands of the School Cuts coalition. Our analysis of the Labour announcement shows that Labour will reverse the cuts but also, importantly, deal with the historic underfunding in many areas of this country. This is evidence-based funding which will mean more children reach their potential.  Labour are in touch with real families’ daily concerns and the ways in which education cuts have harmed children. We welcome the £900 million for free school meals in primary which would address child hunger and support children to eat healthy food for lunch.

The NEU is excited to see the value placed on child wellbeing, through the commitments on much more child mental health support and measures to tackle poverty and improve families’ living standards.

Labour’s proposals can make the job of teaching more manageable and fulfilling by removing the discredited and divisive inspection system. These plans signal a different approach – one that promises to give teachers the conditions they need to be able to help every child meet their potential. The NEU welcomes the break with the misguided political mantra of competition and academisation. A national education service based on inclusion, co-operation and integrated services will improve outcomes for children and reduce the inequality gaps.

Labour are showing courage in challenging the takeover of community schools by unaccountable academy providers. The break-up of the education service has produced record numbers of children and young people suffering from stress and with unmet mental health needs.

Teachers will welcome the forward-thinking proposals to replace Ofsted with an intelligent accountability system, one which offers support to schools instead of labels.

Education for England’s primary children is among the most test-dominated in the world and brings with it unacceptable levels of stress and unhappiness. Ending primary national testing will boost engagement for young children, help teachers address individual needs flexibly and ensure primary children acquire a love of learning and the skills to thrive in secondary.

Labour’s manifesto demonstrates an understanding that schools alone cannot counter the drastic and long-lasting impacts of poverty and class inequality in wider society. We welcome Labour’s proposals to end child poverty, tackle the housing crisis, create good, well-paid and sustainable jobs, and kick-start the economy. The exciting announcement to boost support for school uniform costs would immediately help children escape the shame caused by poverty.  The £175 million for arts pupil premium would help use the power of creative subjects to change children’s lives and provide a wider range of cultural opportunities to more children.

We don’t tell people who to vote for, but the NEU is asking each and every voter to think carefully about education when casting their vote.’’

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
RMT guard members have been at the forefront of fighting Driver Only Operation and this welcome announcement reflects that their struggle has been absolutely right from the very start to warn of the dangers of Driver Only Operation to safety, security, and accessibility.

Ending Driving Only Operation and putting safety-critical Guards back on trains is a modern, transformational policy that will provide real change, especially for disabled and vulnerable passengers.

Solidarity general secretary Patrick Harrington commented:
"Solidarity does not tell its members how to vote. That's a personal choice as far as we're concerned.

"What I will say, however, is that just looking at the domestic economy and rights for workers Labour's promises are unmatched. 

I want to see re-Nationalisation and I want to see attacks on the rights of ordinary workers reversed.

I want ordinary people to have more control over their working lives.

I want to see social justice. I would have liked to see other parties adopt many of the Labour proposals. 

Others could have adopted the same or similar worker-friendly policies but haven't. That says a lot about them. 

There is no doubt that if Labour won this general election there would be a considerable shift in power towards ordinary workers and their unions.

That's the most important consideration for me which is why I will personally vote for them despite having reservations and disagreements with them on other issues. 


I'd urge all our members to make a considered vote based on a direct reading of the party manifestos and not be swayed by indirect reports from the media. I'd also call on our members to exercise their vote, whoever they choose to vote for, it's our way and it's the best way".