A job should be a source of pride, dignity and opportunity. But for millions of people in Britain, it is not. So today, Labor is launching a new campaign: to make Britain the best place to work.
My mother was a nurse. My dad was a tool maker. His work life was tough, often tougher than it should have been. But I saw how proud my dad was of his craft. How dedicated my mother was to the NHS. And how their work gave them the opportunity to start a family.
But after a decade under the Conservatives, modern Britain doesn’t work for the workers. Family incomes have stagnated, millions of people are trapped in insecure jobs, and poverty for employed workers is at a record high, with one in six working families in poverty. The pandemic has brutally exposed these injustices, but they have been growing for years.
I want to live in a country where working life does not create anxiety or undue burden on families. Good jobs can, and should, be the pillars on which workers can build their lives. Everyone deserves pay that you can raise a family on, a decent work-life balance, and opportunities to learn and develop new skills.
The work came out of the union movement to give workers a voice. We will always be that voice. That’s why this summer we will be campaigning throughout our movement for a new workers’ deal.
This should not be beyond our reach. Britain is a wealthy country with a skilled, educated and dedicated workforce. We have the world’s leading universities, a proud manufacturing industry and service expertise that are vital to any economy. We are the sixth largest economy in the world.
But for too many workers, these economic strengths feel remote. Boasting about Britain’s economic performance inevitably ring hollow. The benefits are simply not shared. The conservative economic model has emptied local economies, with blocked streets and young people forced to leave their places of origin in search of good quality jobs.
It does not have to be this way. In the coming months, the Labor Party will set how we change course. A new pact for workers based on five principles of good work.
First, safety at work. We want to see better and fairer workplaces where workers have all rights from day one on the job. We would immediately ban fire and rehire. We would offer a new right to work flexibly and strengthen our unions.
Second, quality work. We need a strong industrial strategy that uses government contracts to support British companies, so that we buy, produce and sell more in Britain. We must generate investment in high-quality, well-paying green jobs in the industries of the future.
Third, a fairer economy. There should be a fair and level playing field in tax matters between multinational giants and local businesses on our main streets. And we must address harassment and discrimination at work so that everyone can move forward.
Fourth, opportunity for everyone. We want a “promise of employment” for young people with a guarantee of quality education, training or employment. And we would create tens of thousands of apprenticeships by ending the Apprenticeship Treasury raid.
Finally, and fundamentally, the work that pays. Everyone deserves a job that pays enough to raise a family. We are campaigning for a real living wage of at least £ 10 an hour for everyone, and we can also ensure that more workers are covered by collective agreements that raise wages.
It often feels remote when politicians talk about this thing called “the economy.” But our economy is only the sum total of the work of the British people. If we create good work for everyone, we will all benefit. If we follow this path, we can build a better and stronger country. We can make Britain the best place to work.
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