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Keir Starmer Says A Labour Government Would Raise Minimum Wage To £10 Per Hour And Ban Zero Hours Contracts

Keir Starmer gave a speech to the TUC congress and laid out a series of new employment policies under a Labour government (Alamy)

3 min read

Keir Starmer has announced a Labour government would push the minimum wage past £10 an hour and ban zero hours contracts.

Delivering a speech at the TUC congress he unveiled a raft of new employment policies including increasing sick pay and guaranteeing it to all workers.

The Labour leader said if he was elected he “would immediately increase the minimum wage to at least £10 an hour," saying for a carer that would increase their annual salary by £2,500.

He told the trade union conference his party wants to offer parental leave to all workers and make sure everyone has the right to flexible working from day one of their employment.

"A job you can raise a family on must offer a solid foundation on which you can build your life, not worrying about how many hours you'll be given the next week or how you'll pay the bills if you fall ill,” Starmer said.

"Labour's new deal will provide that security by ensuring basic rights for all workers from day one in the job: including holiday pay; protection from unfair dismissal; and guaranteed sick pay.

"We have one of the lowest rates of sick pay in Europe. That's not good enough, so as well as guaranteeing sick pay Labour's new deal will increase it as well.”

Criticisng Boris Johnson for creating a supertax deduction for the biggest companies while planning to increase national insurance contributions, he said the government is “putting up taxes for Amazon workers, but allowing Amazon to squirrel profits away in tax havens”.

He added: “All while we see record numbers of children in poverty, 3.6 million workers in insecure work, wages down £1,000 pounds in real terms over the last decade.

“After everything we've been through, and everything workers have done for this country over the last 18 months. This cannot go on.”

The opposition leader said his “new deal for working” would create security at work as well as quality jobs and a fairer economy.

Starmer said the issue was “personal to me”, and twice referenced his father’s career working in a factory.

“Despite being a skilled toolmaker throughout his working life, my dad thought people looked down on him because he worked on the factory floor,” he told the TUC.

“He was right about that. I’ve spent my summer visiting workplaces up and down the country meeting apprentices who are proud of the skills they’ve developed and the work they do.

“We should share that pride. The next Labour government will strive for better prospects and dignity for all workers, not just those with a degree.”

He said Labour and the unions had been working together to end the practise of “fire and rehire”, but added: “But I’ll be blunt with you, we haven’t been successful yet. And that’s because we’re in opposition.

“The uncomfortable truth is that until we have a Labour government our demands for change will be frustrated.”

Calling on the union members to continue to support his party, after suggestions some of the biggest affiliates wanted to have a looser relationship, Starmer said: “Yes, as trade unions you will continue to win important victories in the workplace. And a good thing too.

“But we won’t outlaw fire and rehire, we won’t end insecurity in the workplace, and we won’t have a green new deal until we have a Labour government.”

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