Labour’s New Deal For Working People

The Labour Party has produced its Employment Rights Green Paper to outline a vision of a New Deal For Working People. This document was  shaped by the collective voice of Labour’s Power In The Workplace Taskforce, made up of the Labour Party’s affiliate trade unions and chaired by Labour’s former Shadow Secretary of State for Employment Rights and Protections, Andy McDonald MP.

 

  • Labour will ban Fire & Rehire and Zero Hours Contracts
  • Introduce national collective bargaining through a Fair Pay Act
  • Single status for all workers except the genuinely self employed with employment rights from day one
  • Right to flexible working

Click here to download a pdf the Employment Rights Green Paper 

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Backing For Hendy’s Status Of Workers Bill

Lord John Hendy QC

Unite, is supporting a new parliamentary bill to be debated in the House of Lords on 10th September that would give “all rights to all workers from day one”.

Lord John Hendy QC’s Status of Workers Bill addresses a critical issue for trade union members – the different legal categories of “worker” and the different rights that come with them.

Depending on whether a worker is classified as an “employee”, “self-employed”, a “limb worker” or someone with a “personal service company”, the protections they have against bad bosses can vary enormously.

Speaking ahead of the Lord’s debate, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It’s a disgrace that millions of UK workers are the victims of inadequate labour laws which have more holes in them than Swiss cheese. Passing this bill is an absolute necessity for Britain’s workers and MPs and those in the House of Lords ought to recognise that. 
 
“Covid has emboldened bad bosses who are using the pandemic to redouble their attacks on workers’ jobs, pay and conditions. I will not hesitate to use every tool at Unite’s disposal to fend off these attacks and advance the jobs, pay and conditions of our union’s members.”

Lord Hendy said: “This Bill is intended to give all rights to all workers from day one, with the exception of those who are genuinely self-employed with their own clients.
 
“There are so many things wrong with British workplace law but one of the worst is the classification of workers into categories, many of which have none or only a few of the rights that Parliament has given to those classed as ‘employees’.
 
“Those rights are weak enough, but not having some of them at all because of your legal classification – like the right to the minimum wage or unfair dismissal protection – is completely unacceptable.”

Around 3.7 million UK workers are under employment classifications that provide no guaranteed salary and mean rock bottom job protections.

For example, limb workers – common in food delivery, taxi and other service industries – only have some of the rights that employees have, such as the national minimum wage and paid holidays, with no entitlement to parental leave or protection against unfair dismissal.

And the situation is worse for workers falsely classified as self-employed– those whose arrangements are dressed up by bosses to look as if they are self-employed but who are de facto employees. They are not entitled to the national minimum wage, paid holidays or even some health and safety protections.

While the shameful practice of “fire and rehire” has been widely condemned in recent months, some unscrupulous employers are also downgrading workers from one category to another to cut the burden of the rights that go with the higher category. Lord Hendy’s bill would put a stop to that.

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South Korean Union Leader Ambushed and Arrested By Police.

Police forces in riot suppression gear and with fire trucks surrounded the national headquarters of the KCTU, the biggest confederation of trade unions in South Korea to arrest the KCTU President

The President of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions YANG, Kyeung Soo was arrested at 6:09am on September 1st in a surprise ambush involving police squadrons in riot suppression gear and fire trucks surrounding the confederation headquarters at 5:00 am and violating the union premises at 5:30 am.

The authorities have pre-emptively arrested the president of South Korea’s largest trade union confederation to lock him up under pre-trial detention while they investigate into his supposed crimes which they allege are:

  • obstruction of general traffic through demonstration

  • violation of Act on Assembly and Demonstration and

  • acts relating to infectious disease control

This raiding of the trade union headquarters comes ahead of a general strike/work stoppage KCTU is organizing for October.

Though authorities do not say they aim to intimidate workers or dissuade legitimate trade union activities, certainly actions speak louder than words. Former UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association Maina Kia wrote on this in Korea, “Charging assembly participants with certain criminal offenses, such a the general obstruction of traffic, de facto criminalizes the right to peaceful assembly. … The choice to prosecute at all, and even more to charge participants with the serious offence of general obstruction of traffic, conveys a desire by the authorities to discourage assemblies on roads.

The Special Rapporteur reiterates that assemblies are an equally legitimate use of public space as commercial activity or the movement of vehicles and pedestrian traffic.” Thus, the arrest of the confederation president via storming the headquarters with police conveys the impression they wish to dissuade workers from continued protests about the ongoing employment crisis and safety and health at work crisis.

The alleged crimes for which KCTU President YANG was arrested relate to a protest rally unions held on 3rd July.

Amid continuing industrial disasters and dismissals forcing the pains of the pandemic-related crises onto working people, the 3rd July rally demanded a “Moratorium on Dismissals” and urgent action and rights to protect lives and livelihoods.

However, bringing charges relating to infectious disease control and insinuating that the people should blame trade unions for the 4th covid19 wave and for the frustrations of the pandemic are unscrupulous scapegoating.

The truth is that no new coronavirus case were linked whatsoever to participation at that 3 July rally calling for a moratorium on dismissals and implementation of safety and health at work.

Trade unions are being scapegoated and blamed for the government’s coronavirus containment and vaccination rollout problems ahead of the 9 March presidential elections.

Indeed, the “Seoul Police Agency Investigation Headquarters into the 3rd July Illegal Demonstration” with a staff of 52 people dedicated to pinning charges on trade unionists according to newspaper reports at the time KMWU (Autoworkers) President KIM Ho Gyu submitted to their interrogation — had already questioned KCTU President YANG on 8 July and again in a 5-hour interrogation session on 4 August.

In short, there is no need for them to lock up the KCTU president under pre-trial detention, much less to storm the confederation headquarters ahead of the October general strike.

Brother YANG, who is a member of the KMWU through the Kia irregular workers’ local

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GMB Union and Uber commit to end the exploitation of  200,000 drivers

GMB General Secretary, and Uber’s Jamie Heywood, have met following the ground-breaking trade union recognition deal.

Under the deal – struck in May – Uber will formally recognise GMB, which will now be able to represent up to 70,000 Uber drivers across the UK.

Earlier this year, the Supreme Court determined Uber drivers are not self-employed, but are workers entitled to workers’ rights including holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.

But with more than 300,000 drivers working in the ride-hailing and the PHV industry, an estimated 230,000 are still not receiving their legal rights from companies like Bolt and Addison Lee.

GMB and Uber today pledged to end this exploitation.

Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said: “The ground-breaking deal between GMB and Uber was the first step towards a fairer working life for millions of people.
“It showed that when companies and trade unions work together, standards can be raised across these industries.
“Earlier this year the Supreme Court set a precedent for all ride hailing apps to provide drivers with worker rights such as holiday pay and a pension.
“Uber has done this for its 70,000 drivers, but there are more than 200,000 more working for other operators still denied these basic legal rights.
“GMB and Uber today take the next step in our commitment to ending the exploitation of hundreds of thousands of ride-hailing app drivers.”

Jamie Heywood, Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Uber said: “The historic agreement with GMB ensured that Uber was the first in the industry to ensure all of its drivers have full union representation, as well as a pension and holiday pay.
“We may not seem like obvious allies, but together we made history by striking a recognition agreement to improve workers’ protections and, crucially, give drivers a stronger say in how Uber operates.
“We hope that working constructively with GMB will show the rest of the industry what can be achieved, ensuring that all drivers, no matter who they work with, receive the rights and protections they are entitled to.”

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