Jeremy Corbyn announces collective bargaining plan, as Labour leader voting gets underway
Jeremy Corbyn has unveiled proposals to boost workers’ bargaining rights and overhaul the House of Lords, as the Labour party begins sending out ballot papers for its leadership contest.
More than 640,000 Labour members, registered supporters, and trade union affiliates will decide between Mr Corbyn and his challenger Owen Smith, with the winner to be announced before the party’s annual conference next month.
Mr Corbyn has today published a range of ideas to “democratise our country”, while Mr Smith will make a speech in his Pontypridd constituency this morning laying out the choice on offer for the party.
Among the Labour leader’s new policies are proposals to let residents have a referendum on the privatisation of local services and replacing the House of Lords with an elected second chamber.
He is also promising mandatory collective bargaining for companies with more than 250 workers, staff representation on executive remuneration committees, and “sectoral union bargaining rights”.
Mr Corbyn is also promising a radical shake-up of Labour's ruling national executive committee, in what critics will see as an attempt drag the party further to the left.
"We need to break open the closed circle of Westminster and Whitehall, and of the boardrooms too," Mr Corbyn said.
“Decisions in Britain are overwhelmingly taken from the top down. And that’s crucial to why our country is run in the interests of a privileged few.
"Labour under my leadership will listen to ideas from the bottom up - and take radical action to transform and rebuild our country so that no-one and no community is left behind."
Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that both candidates have supported the idea of requiring either the Labour leader or deputy leader to be female.
Women have fared consistently badly in elections for Labour’s top jobs, with Liz Kendall and Yvette Cooper finishing bottom in last year’s leadership contest, Mr Smith being chosen as the opponent to Mr Corbyn over Angela Eagle, and all of Labour’s major mayoral candidates being men.
Mr Smith and Mr Corbyn both said they would support a rule change to put in place the recommendation of Labour Women’s Network.
Labour has announced that its electorate for the contest consists of 350,000 full members, 129,000 who paid £25 for a registered vote, and 168,000 from affiliated organisations.