Paul Nowak: With its New Deal, Labour have shown they will stand up for working-class communities

There are no two ways about it – working people have been abandoned by the Conservatives. It’s time for a reset.

Paul Nowak is the General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress

For thirteen long years, the Conservatives have presided over a race to the bottom on pay and conditions at work.

Real wages are still worth less than they were in 2008 and are not on course to recover until 2028. That’s two decades of lost living standards.

Meanwhile, insecure work has exploded on the Tories’ watch. And the party is attacking our fundamental right to strike.

There are no two ways about it – working people have been abandoned by the Conservatives. It’s time for a reset.

That’s why, at the next election, rights at work will be on the ballot paper.

Labour’s New Deal for Working People stands in stark contrast to the Conservative government’s slash and burn approach to workers’ rights.  

The New Deal would be the biggest expansion of workers’ rights in a generation – delivered with an employment bill in Labour’s first 100 days of government.

From day one employment rights like protection from unfair dismissal, to a ban on zero hours contracts, to repealing the pernicious Tory legislation that attacks workers’ right to strike – it would be a gamechanger for working people.

Crucially – it would give trade unions more access to workplaces, so that workers can learn the benefits of joining a union and unions can support workers to organise for better pay and conditions.

And it would set up fair pay agreements, in social care first, to get pay rising in low-paid sectors.

Making work pay, making work secure and making work fair – the New Deal is a serious plan to lift living standards, empower workers and deliver decent work in every corner of the country.

Working people want change for themselves and their families. That’s why the general public, including Tory voters, overwhelmingly support Labour’s New Deal for Workers.

Our recent polling shows huge support for the New Deal from right across the electorate.

Here are just a few examples.

Two in three people support all workers having a day one right to protection from unfair dismissal – including 61% of Conservative 2019 voters.

Six in ten support new rights, like sick pay and holiday pay, for workers in the gig economy – including 59% of Conservative 2019 voters. People know these workers need such protections. Only 6% oppose it.

Two in three want to see an end to the abhorrent practice of fire and rehire, and 6 in 10 want to see a ban on zero hours contracts – with both including a significant majority of Tory voters.

It’s little wonder that so many want to see real change after more than a decade of Tory economic failure.

The New Deal isn’t just good for working people, it’s good for our wider economy too.

That’s why decent employers should welcome these plans. The New Deal would help create more productive workplaces and stop rogue bosses from undercutting the best.

It would set us on the path to a more productive, stronger way of working for the future.

Good, secure jobs are essential to building a motivated, healthy workforce and are what every worker deserves.

It’s high time we had employment standards fit for the 21st century. Everyone should know they’ll be treated fairly at work with decent pay and conditions. 

With its New Deal, Labour have shown they will stand up for working-class communities.

Of course, all the new employment rights in the world aren’t a substitute for strong, effective unions. But unions, strengthened by the New Deal, can help workers across the economy get a better deal. 

The choice for voters in 2024 is clear. More Tory failure or a transformative plan that delivers good jobs for workers and their families up and down the country.

Comments are closed.