Long-Bailey pledges right to switch off work phones out of hours

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Labour leadership candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey will pledge to help end the 24/7 work culture by giving employees the right not to be contacted outside working hours.

The shadow business secretary will commit on Friday to giving workers the freedom to switch off phones so they do not have to be anxious about receiving emails and calls during leisure time.

While her campaign team gave few details, a “right to disconnect” in France obliges organisations with more than 50 workers to define employees’ rights to ignore their mobiles.

Labour Party annual conference 2018
Long-Bailey is among the favourites to replace Corbyn (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Long-Bailey was expected to say: “Aspirational socialism is about us all rising together, and that means coming together to collectively solve issues that are damaging our mental health and stopping us getting quality time with our families or in our communities.

“We can all do better with aspirational socialism, through pushing for an end to the 24/7 work culture, and with trade unions empowered to negotiate this, we can work hard, be paid for the work we do and keep that precious time with our friends and family, uninterrupted by emails or demands.”

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The Salford and Eccles MP is one of the frontrunners to succeed Jeremy Corbyn. She is also seen as being closest ideologically to Corbyn and has pledged to renationalise key utilities.

She is up against Keir Starmer, Lisa Nandy and Emily Thornberry to be elected the new leader on 4 April.

All the candidates apart from Thornberry have so far won sufficient support from groups affiliated to Labour to make it onto the postal ballot of members and supporters.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Rebecca who had her press team release this at 19:30 last night…. Hypocritical as ever. No surprise she’s polling at 14% popularity with the general public. Hopefully the once great Labour Party will consign losers like this to the dustbin.

    2. Quite right, but we need to go much further and dissolve the distinction between employer and employee. Why does it exist? It’s one of those cultural features so taken for granted no one questions it; but once, the relation between lord and vassal or slave-owner and slave was treated in the same way. Work is one thing, employment another. There is every need for the former, no absolute need for the latter. Community Wealth Building is showing the way to a new work relation. The obvious examples exist in Emiliia Romagna and Montdragon but less well-known is the extent of co-operative enterprise in the USA and the Democracy Collaborative’s 50 by 50 which aims to have 50 million American workers engaged in co-ops by 2050. That’s the right kind of aspiration and it fits with the need to establish carbon neutral economies because eliminating the capitalist drive for profit at all cost and replacing it by forms of enterprise judged by how they make communities thrive will rid us of the delusion of infinite growth. GDP needs to be set aside. It was introduced in the late 19th century so economists could sound more like physicists, but it has always been a dubious measure. In its place we need the concept of thriving. Every economic activity needs to be judged by how it contributes to human thriving, which is relatively easy to define. The work culture of capitalism belongs to yesterday. See thenestsystem.org for what can take its place.

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