Jeremy Corbyn unveils new ‘Ministry for Employment Rights’ with vow to clamp down on bad bosses
A Labour government would create a new "Ministry for Employment Rights" in a bid to boost protections for workers, Jeremy Corbyn has announced.
The Labour leader said the fresh department would put “power in the hands of workers” rather than the “born-to-rule establishment” by increasing wages and protections.
The department would be led by a newly-created Cabinet minister, the Secretary of State for Employment Rights.
The new ministry would look to ban unpaid internships and zero-hour contracts while also overturning Conservative changes to trade union law.
Under the plans, all workers over 16 would be entitled to a statutory “Real Living Wage” of £10 per hour by 2020, while a new civil enforcement system would be established to ensure gender pay commitments were upheld.
Announcing the pledge at the TUC's annual congress in Brighton Mr Corbyn promised the "biggest extension of workers’ rights" as he vowed to roll-out collective bargaining across all sectors of the economy.
"For 40 years, the share of the cake going to workers has been getting smaller and smaller. It’s no coincidence that the same period has seen a sustained attack on the organisations that represent workers – trade unions," he said.
"We have witnessed a deliberate, decades-long transfer of power away from working people. The consequences are stark for all workers, whether members of a trade union or not. Pay is lower than it was a decade ago in real terms.
"Labour is on the side of the people in the real battle against the born-to-rule establishment that Johnson represents. We stand for the interests of the many – the overwhelming majority who do the work and pay their taxes – not the few at the top who hoard the wealth and dodge their taxes.
"It’s Labour’s historic mission to transform people’s lives, and that transformation begins in the workplace."
Shadow Minister for Labour Laura Pidcock meanwhile set out plans for a new Workers' Protection Agency to enforce employment rights, with the power to inspect workplaces and penalise bad bosses.
“To meet the serious challenge of such stark levels of in-work poverty alongside the rapidly increasing precariousness of work, we need radical measures,” she said.
“Tinkering around the edges will no longer do.
“A Labour Government will establish a Ministry for Employment Rights. The Department will be responsible for transforming our workplaces by delivering a huge roll out of individual and collective rights at work and implementing enforcement powers to make these rights meaningful.
“For the almost 33 million workers in our country, having a Labour government will mean security, it will mean a more comfortable life, and it will mean they have more power and control over their own lives."
Mr Corbyn added: “Rights only mean anything if they’re enforced. Too many employers are getting away with flouting laws. Nearly half a million people are still being paid less than the minimum wage.
“We’ll put a stop to that. We’ll create a Workers' Protection Agency with the power to enter workplaces and bring prosecutions on workers’ behalf.
"If you’re a worker with a boss who makes you work extra hours for no pay or forces you into dangerous situations, you deserve a government that’s on your side and ready to step in to support you.”