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General election: Corbyn calls out ‘UK’s five worst employers’ as he launches workers’ manifesto

Ashley Cowburn
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Jeremy Corbyn has vowed to stand up for “exploited, ripped off and dehumanised workers”, as Labour calls out what it claims to be the UK’s five worst employers.

Naming the companies – Amazon, Uber, Asda, Sports Direct and outsourcing giant ISS – the party said it will take on the “bad bosses” with its newly published work manifesto.

Detailing what Labour promises to be the biggest expansion of workers’ rights in Britain’s history, the party will reiterate its pledges to ban zero-hours contracts and introduce a £10 minimum wage for all employees.

Mr Corbyn’s party would also ban “bogus” self-employment, so bosses cannot evade workers’ rights, and repeal anti-trade union legislation, if he topples Boris Johnson and wins the general election next week.

“The Conservatives are on the side of bad bosses who have exploited, ripped off and dehumanised workers,” Mr Corbyn said.

“We’ll call time on insecure and unsafe work that leaves people without the rights and dignity they deserve. We’ll call time on discrimination in the work place that leaves women vulnerable to harassment and unequal pay.

“And we’ll call time on the running down of workers’ rights to organise collectively to boost their pay and improve working conditions.”

Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the TUC trade union federation, welcomed the work manifesto as a “game changer”, adding: “Too many workers in Britain are treated like disposable labour.

“We’ve had enough of an economy that’s rigged in favour of bosses and corporations while working families struggle to get by”.

Uber, which is appealing after its application for an operating licence was refused in London over concerns about passenger safety and employment practices, defended its record, saying “drivers are at the heart of our service”.

“Whether it’s being able to study for undergraduate degrees with Uber Pro or stronger insurance protections, we’ll continue working to improve the experience for and with drivers,” a spokesperson added.

ISS has previously been criticised by unions for allegedly failing to pay workers – insisted insisted its employees are paid “fairly and competitively” with a “real living wage” since 2012.

A spokesperson added: “ISS salaries and benefits are also extremely benchmarked using metrics form other major employers and respected organisations, which ensures that remuneration arrangements are competitive.”

Asda rejected the claims made by the Labour, adding: “Despite the huge pressures facing our sector, we have worked to give a pay increase to almost 120,000 of our retail colleagues in return for a degree of flexibility that is standard in our industry and ensures fairness for all our colleagues.”

Labour also pointed to reports in The Times that claimed an ambulance was called to an Amazon warehouse in the UK once every two days in 2018, with some staff suffering serious falls.

The company dismissed Labour’s claims as “false”, saying: “The truth is that Amazon already offers industry-leading pay, starting at £9.50 and £10.50 per hour depending on location, comprehensive benefits, as well as a safe, modern work environment.”

They added: “We are incredibly proud of the safe environment that we provide all our employees. We benchmark Health & Safety Executive data and we have over 40 per cent fewer injuries on average than other transportation and warehousing businesses in the UK”.

Sports Direct did not respond for comment when contacted by The Independent.

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