Adult social care will be the first sector to benefit from new laws that will boost fairness at work, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has promised.
Under the “fair pay agreements” proposal, worker 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.
Labour said the proposals would give all workers in social care “a proper voice” and prevent “providers who care about their staff and the people in their care” being undercut by “unscrupulous employers driving down standards across the sector”.
Other measures from a Labour government would include an immediate increase to 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.
Speaking at the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Saturday, Rayner promised the “new deal for working people” would be signed into law within the first 100 days of a Labour government.
She told delegates: “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.”
Commenting on the proposals, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Fair pay agreements in care would stop the race to the bottom, rebuild the workforce and bring about investment in a vital public service.
“These proposals would bring much-needed standards and union representation to hundreds of thousands of care workers.
“Woeful sick pay and job insecurity are among the many problems highlighted by the pandemic. Labour’s plans would make a significant improvement to the rights of all workers.”