Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has reportedly now watered down its pledges around workers’ rights, in a move that’s angered many. This latest news begs the question: just who does Labour represent now? The answer is clear. Starmer’s party represents the rich and powerful.
Starmer’s Labour: the party of workers, apparently
The Financial Times (FT) reported on Labour’s pledges around workers rights. It noted that it had seen “text” relating to a meeting on the issue of the party’s “national policy forum in Nottingham last month”. The FT noted that:
Labour has diluted its 2021 pledge to create a single status of “worker” for all but the genuinely self-employed, regardless of sector, wage or contract type. The policy was aimed at guaranteeing “basic rights and protections” for all workers, including those in the gig economy.
Instead of introducing the policy immediately, Labour has agreed it would consult on the proposal in government, considering how “a simpler framework” that differentiates between workers and the genuinely self-employed “could properly capture the breadth of employment relationships in the UK” and ensure workers can still “benefit from flexible working where they choose to do so”.
Then, the FT said that:
Labour also clarified that its previously announced plans to introduce “basic individual rights from day one for all workers”, including sick pay, parental leave and protection against unfair dismissal, will “not prevent . . . probationary periods with fair and transparent rules and processes.”
People on Twitter were unimpressed:
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A decent programme on workers’ rights reform was one of the few things the Labour Party had left. Now it has watered down protections for gig economy and probationary workers , despite already being ahead in the polls, to appear more business friendly https://t.co/UJrtSFwt1s
— Natalie Sedacca (@nataliesedacca) August 18, 2023
Sir Keir will say absolutely anything to get elected.
He’s reversed his pledges when he was running to be Labour leader.
Now he’s flip-flopping on this – the latest in a long list of u-turns.https://t.co/lEL87cezHI
‘When you stand for nothing, you fall for everything.’
— Mario Creatura 🇺🇦 (@MarioCreatura) August 18, 2023
Kid Starver isn't "rowing back" on workers' rights to blunt possible Tory attacks.
He's rowing back on workers' rights because he's a lying Tory shitbag who supports the corrupt Thatcherite status quo.
Vote Labour. Get Tory. Nothing will change.https://t.co/89qozTaV7m
— Frank Owen's Legendary Paintbrush🥀🇵🇸🇾🇪 (@OwenPaintbrush) August 18, 2023
Meanwhile, deputy leader Angela Rayner got “on the front foot” by sharing Labour’s green paper on workers’ rights:
Angela Rayner getting on the front foot after a report in the FT said Labour had "watered down plans to strengthen workers’ rights as Sir Keir Starmer tries to woo corporate leaders".https://t.co/NMXJ8GtcXs https://t.co/x2zmlXvsf4
— Joshua Nevett (@JoshuaNevett) August 18, 2023
However, the document doesn’t refute the FT‘s claims. For example, the green paper still includes the single status of worker pledge – but this doesn’t mean Labour won’t consult on it first, as the FT claims.
It’s a similar story with employers giving workers rights like sick pay from day one. The FT claims that Labour will put this in place, but still allow bosses to put workers on trial periods where they can be sacked. The document doesn’t refute this, either – it just doesn’t mention it.
So, just who is left for Labour to represent?
Labour: pro-business and pro-rich people, anti-everyone else
Previously, the party announced that if it was in government:
- Private companies would work with the NHS, and it will make more reforms to the health service.
- It would keep many of the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP’s) worst policies.
- That it would continue to detain refugees on barges like the Bibby Stockholm, and not create safe routes for them.
- Previous pledges on the climate crisis would be placed on hold.
So, that’s everyone who needs the NHS, benefit claimants, refugees, and the planet all thrown under the bus.
You’d be forgiven for asking ‘What’s the point in Labour?’. Former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett did:
"Labour official didn’t deny to @Politico Playbook, saying “businesses are no longer running scared of us, but running towards us — whether donating money or sitting down with us to write our plans for growth.”
What is Labour for?https://t.co/73XRBSHhnE
— Natalie Bennett (@natalieben) August 18, 2023
Well, as the Canary previously wrote:
Starmer wants us to know that come the next election, we won’t find anything in his manifesto that a Tory would object to. In other words, it will be a Tory Manifesto in everything but name. That is unless Starmer does the one thing Tony Blair never had the balls to do and rebrands Labour the ‘New Conservative Party’
So, all that’s left of Labour is a pro-business, pro-rich people husk of a party. From workers, to non-working people, via the NHS, climate, and planet – Labour’s shift to the centre right has thrown them all under the bus. We don’t know about you, but many of us won’t be holding our nose and voting for Starmer’s party at the next election. We’ll either be spoiling our ballots, or voting Green.
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