Rachael Maskell MP
Rachael Maskell MP

Through the decades every right, every advance has been built on the back of working people coming together through trade unions to progress the course of history:

  • Improving safety
  • Protecting the precarious
  • Finding restitution to discrimination
  • Calling bad employers to account
  • Improving wellbeing
  • Confronting bullying
  • Progressing working time
  • Supporting working parents
  • Increasing workplace fairness in pay and condition
  • Doing what is just
  • And so much more

While advancing rights for workers, trade unions have made the economy more productive, companies more successful, and returned more to the Treasury, while changing the trajectory of poverty and inequality to one which draws out the talent and skills of every worker; fulfilling every person.

Not only providing a safety net, but being a spring board to the future of each and every worker.

Ministers may question why our Party is dedicated to supporting trade unions; simply put, it is because they are the voice of working people, the protection of working people and source of advancement for working people. They even set up a political party, the Labour Party, to be their voice in this place because they knew that Conservatives were never their advocates. How right they were then and how right they are  today.

Yet this Tory Government sits on their hands as bosses are ripping up contracts, stealing wages, hiring and re-firing workers like at Heathrow and British Gas – I thank Unite and GMB for leading this fight, which they will win.

But I say to all working people, you can never trust this Tory Government. They have already slashed the rights of working people since being in office:

  • Doubled the qualifying period to gain employment protections to 2 years
  • Charging people to bring an Employment Tribunal
  • Introducing huge barriers to take industrial action
  • Scrapping UnionLearn
  • Sending workers into Covid19 infested workplaces, not providing the necessary PPE
  • Slashing the Health and Safety Executive
  • Attacking Check Off arrangements
  • Cutting the number of public sector workers, so others have to work exhausting hours
  • Shrinking public sector pensions, and public sector pay
  • Halving redundancy consultation periods
  • And have stood by, arms folded, as 3 million people have been excluded from any support
  • They haven’t protected millions of families this year, as they’ve joined the dole queue instead of saving their jobs

There is no end to this destruction of employment rights.

And now, they’re set on watering down an essential piece of safety legislation – the Working Time Regulations.

Introduced in 1998 to protect workers. Remember the stories, of people coming off shift being killed having fallen asleep at the wheel. Remember the increased health prevalence of cancers and heart problems. Remember families not having sufficient time together due to too few holidays – all extended under Labour, now to be taken away.

Already with the worst productivity and economic crisis of any developed country, this Government are reverting to their norm, in punishing working people, while paying their disgraced advisor £10,000s.

And now they are lighting the bonfire on workers’ rights. Never trust the Tories with your rights – the fight starts here, the fight starts now, and if we don’t win tonight, we will take this fight all the way to the ballot box.

Thank you

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