Labour have watered down protections for workers’ rights in a bid to woo big business, it has been reported
Sir Keir Starmer has rolled back his plans to create a single category of ‘worker’ for all but those genuinely self-employed, which was intended to secure “rights and protections” for all.
But at the party’s national policy forum in Nottingham last month – part of the process to draft the manifesto – this was switched in favour of a consultation, the Financial Times reported.
The party wants to assess if a “simpler framework… could properly capture the breadth of employment relationships in the UK” and allow some to “benefit from flexible working where they choose to do so”, the FT said
It follows months of the opposition party attempting to appeal to corporate bosses in what’s been widely dubbed a ‘smoked salmon and scrambled eggs offensive’.
Starmer and shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves are aiming to counter the Conservatives’ claims their party is anti-business, ahead of the general election expected next year.
The FT reported Labour also confirmed it would continue to permit firms to sack staff during a trial period, in a clarification of its policy on new joiners.
Unite the Union, a top Labour backer, objected to the new wording on workers’ rights, and refused to back the party’s stance, while leftwing faction Momentum branded it “wrong”.
Policies agreed at the Nottingham forum will be published ahead of Labour’s party conference this autumn and offer choices from which manifesto pledges will be selected.
One party official told the FT: “Labour are listening to business and unions to make sure we’ve got credible plans on the economy.”
Other business policies, including a so-called ‘right to switch off’ from calls and emails outside of working hours, are said to have been drawn up into a Conservative HQ attack list.
A Labour official told the FT that Tory plans to attack over workers’ rights were a “desperate” measure “from the same party that said ‘fuck business’,” referring to Boris Johnson in 2018.
The party has a “serious, credible and ambitious policy programme” designed to build “a strong economy by levelling-up workers’ rights and making work pay”, the official told the FT.