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Rayner promises to boost workers’ rights and take on ‘Tory sleaze’

·3-min read

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner tore into “Tory sleaze” and tax-dodging firms as she set out plans to boost workers’ rights.

Within the first 100 days of a Labour government, the party said it will legislate to launch sector-wide fair pay agreements, starting in social care, as part of a “fundamental change” to the economy.

Ms Rayner used her speech on the opening day of Labour’s conference in Brighton to target Boris Johnson’s Government.

She vowed to “stamp out the Tory sleaze that has polluted our politics and corrupted our democracy” telling Labour activists the Government was “taking £1,400 out of the pockets of a nurse while over £2 billion of taxpayers’ money has been dished out to Tory donors and mates of ministers”.

“There’s only one rule with this Cabinet and that is that there’s one rule for them and one rule for all of us,” she said.

Ms Rayner accused ministers of using the “public purse as a personal cashpoint” before adding: “We’ll stop the dodgy deals handing public money to ministers’ mates. It’s bad news for my pub landlord, but good news for the public”.

“And let me tell you this – as your minister for procurement, I won’t sign off a single penny that goes to a company that exploits its workers or doesn’t pay its taxes

Labour Party Conference 2021
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer and deputy leader Angela Rayner at the conference in Brighton (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“We will stamp out the Tory sleaze that has polluted our politics and corrupted our democracy. The racket is over. Their time is up.”

Under the fair pay agreements promised by Labour, worker and employers representatives will be brought together by the Government to agree minimum pay, terms and conditions, which would form a “floor” in a sector.

Other measures would include an immediate increase in the minimum wage to at least £10 per hour, the creation of a single status of “worker” for all but the genuinely self-employed, the right to flexible working for all workers from day one, and a ban on zero-hours contracts.

Labour is also pledging to increase statutory sick pay and make it available to all workers, extend statutory parental leave and introduce the right to bereavement leave.

Labour Party Conference 2021
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer watches as deputy leader Angela Rayner speaks (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

The party would also end the trend of so-called “fire and rehire”, which has sparked a series of disputes amid complaints by unions that it is being used by employers to cut pay and conditions.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Many of the key workers who got us through this crisis, including our dedicated care staff, are on poverty wages and insecure contracts.

“Fair pay agreements would help end this injustice and be a game-changer for millions of working families.

Labour Party Conference 2021
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner during her conference speech (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“Giving workers and their unions more power to bargain collectively is the best way to improve pay and working conditions across Britain.

“These much-needed proposals are about making sure that hard work pays off for everyone.”

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