Friday 24 September 2021 / 10:30 PM Andy McDonald / Angela Rayner / Workers' Rights

Labour sets out plans for Fair Pay Agreements to deliver New Deal for Working People

Rayner to open Labour Party Conference promising “driving mission” of Labour government will be to end poverty wages and insecure work that blights lives and holds back our economy

Labour has today (Saturday) set out plans to introduce Fair Pay Agreements, beginning in the social care sector, as part of its plan to deliver a new deal for Britain’s 31 million workers. Labour’s New Deal for Working People will be signed into law within the first 100 days of a Labour government.

Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner will open Labour Party Conference in Brighton today by launching Labour’s Green Paper on Employment Rights – setting out how the next Labour government will fundamentally change the economy by changing the world of work to deliver an economy built on fair pay, job security, dignity and equality at work. Improving wages, job security and rights at work will improve productivity and enhance economic opportunity, health and wellbeing. Workers, employers and government working in partnership will create a prosperous economy that works for everyone.

Fair Pay Agreements are central to Labour’s vision of transforming our economy so that it works for working people and the people who create our nation’s wealth are able to get their fair share of it. Labour will empower workers to act collectively through Fair Pay Agreements which will be negotiated through sectoral collective bargaining – starting in the adult social care sector.

This follows the example of the New Zealand Labour government announcing that it will be introducing Fair Pay Agreements, which are already the norm across European economies. Under Fair Pay Agreements, worker representatives and employer representatives will be brought together by the government to establish and agree minimum pay, terms and conditions which will be binding on all employers and workers in the sector. The Fair Pay Agreement would then form a ‘floor’ in a sector, preventing exploitative employers from undercutting the many good employers who already recognise that what is good for their workforce is good for their bottom line and that fair pay and secure work leads to higher productivity.

Adult social care is the first sector that would benefit from Labour’s plan for Fair Pay Agreements. Three quarters of frontline care workers in England – over 600,000 workers – are paid less than the living wage, 375,000 are employed on zero-hours contracts and many are paid less than the legal minimum wage for the hours they work.

Labour’s Fair Pay Agreements would give all workers in the fragmented social care sector a proper voice and empower them to negotiate better pay, terms and conditions. Employers operating in the sector would benefit from a baseline of standards to prevent providers who care about their staff and the people in their care being undercut by unscrupulous employers driving down standards across the sector.

As well as Fair Pay Agreements, Labour’s Green Paper on Employment Rights will fundamentally change our economy and improve the lives of working people by delivering:

  • An immediate increase to the minimum wage to at least £10 per hour for all workers. Eradicating in-work poverty by tackling the structural causes of poverty and ensuring that the future National Living Wage is adequate and addresses increases in the cost of living.
  • The creation of a single status of ‘worker’ for all but the genuinely self-employed so all workers have the same rights and protections, including rights to sick pay, holiday pay, parental leave and protection against unfair dismissal from day one on the job.
  • The right to flexible working for all workers as a default from day one, alongside the ‘right to switch off’ outside of working hours.
  • A ban on zero-hours contracts and an end to ‘one-sided flexibility’, with all workers having the right to a regular contract and predictable hours, reasonable notice of any changes in shifts of working hours and wages for cancelled shifts paid in full.
    Increasing Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and making it available to all workers, including the self-employed and those on low wages currently excluded by the lower earnings limit for eligibility.
  • Ending fire and rehire.
  • Extending statutory parental leave, introducing the right to bereavement leave, strengthening protections for pregnant women, and reforming the failed Shared Parental Leave system.
  • Updating trade union legislation so it is fit for a modern economy and so working people have strengthened rights and are empowered to organise collectively.
  • Overhauling enforcement of rights and protections by establishing a single enforcement body to enforce workers’ rights, inspect workplaces and bring prosecutions and civil proceedings on behalf of workers against bad employers relating to health and safety, minimum wage, worker exploitation and discriminatory practices.
  • Introducing mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting to mirror gender pay gap reporting, and a new requirement on employers to report and eliminate pay gaps through the implementation of action plans to eradicate inequalities in the workplace.

Launching Labour’s Green Paper for Employment Rights, Angela Rayner MP, Labour’s Deputy Leader and Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work, will say:

“It will be the driving mission of the next Labour government to end the poverty wages and insecure work that blights millions of lives and is holding back our economy. Labour will make Britain work for working people.

“Work should provide not just a proper wage that people can raise a family on, but dignity, flexibility and security. Better pay and more secure work is good for workers, good for businesses and good for the economy.

“Labour will deliver a New Deal for Working People so they get a fair share of the wealth they create, and within the first 100 days of the next Labour government we will sign this New Deal for Working People into law.”

Announcing Labour’s plan to deliver Fair Pay Agreements, Angela Rayner will say:

“Working people don’t want a hand out from a Minister sat in Whitehall – workers want the power to stand up for themselves and demand their fair share and a better deal.

“The best way to improve the lot of working people is collectively, achieving more by the strength of our common endeavour than we achieve alone.

“So the next Labour government will bring together representatives of workers and employers to agree Fair Pay Agreements that will apply to every worker in each sector, starting in social care. Fair Pay Agreements will drive up pay, improve conditions in the workplace and stop bad bosses from exploiting their workers and driving down pay and standards for everyone.

“When Labour is in government there won’t just be a former social care worker and shop steward in the office of Deputy Prime Minister, working people will have a seat at the Cabinet table and their voices will be heard. The next Labour government will end poverty wages and insecure work for good.”

Andy McDonald MP, Labour’s Shadow Employment Rights and Protections Secretary, said:

“Instead of an employment model that delivers for working people the Conservatives have ushered in one that means a race to the bottom on the backs of working people. 

“Outsourcing, zero-hours contracts and agency work drive down pay, standards and conditions across our whole economy for everyone.

“It is high time that the key workers who got us through this crisis – and all working people – are given the dignity and security at work that they deserve.”