UK News

Labour’s Angela Rayner vows to save social care with new deal for workers

Labour’s Angela Rayner has outlined her plan to save social care within 20 days of coming to power.

At the heart of the party’s proposal to revive the struggling sector is legislating for collective bargaining so trade unions can negotiate pay and terms on behalf of workers.

The move would bolster care for those in need – and boost wages and staff retention, said Labour‘s deputy leader, Ms Rayner.

The industry is notorious for low pay and employees quitting the sector.

Former agency care worker and Unison trade union official Ms Rayner unveils the plan at the party’s annual conference in Brighton on Saturday – and vows to make it her top priority if Keir Starmer becomes Prime Minister.

Labour’s Deputy Leader Angela Rayner


Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Speaking exclusively to the Mirror, which is campaigning for Fair Care for All, she said: “I have seen that the collective voice improves not just the standards for workers but improves the level of care and the service that people get.

“I was really passionate about it when I was a home carer.”

Boris Johnson famously declared on his first day as PM in July 2019 that “I am announcing now, on the steps of Downing Street, that we will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve” – before waiting 26 months to publish it.

Ms Rayner, the party’s Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work, signalled Labour’s plan would be brought to Parliament less than three weeks after the party returns to office.

“Within the (first) 20 days of the next Labour Government .. the first thing I’m going to say, when Keir’s Prime Minister, is ‘Right, this is what my driving goal as Deputy Prime Minister is – to drive this Employment Rights Bill right the way through so we can deliver that immediately’,” she revealed.

Under Labour’s plan for Fair Pay Agreements, workers’ leaders and bosses would “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 party said.

It added: “The Fair Pay Agreement would then form a ‘floor’ in a sector, preventing exploitative employers from undercutting the many good employers.”
Ms Rayner blasted the right-wing caricature of collective bargaining, saying people think it “is about Punch ‘n’ Judy, the management versus the staff and the union”.

Recalling how she fought for better conditions when she was a union rep, she added: “Actually we worked collaboratively to have a programme called Delivering the Workforce which meant that the girls that worked in home care – and they were predominantly women then – had a career path, they had a skills training set.

“The staff retention was amazing, staff sickness levels went down, therefore the employers saved money, the service was improved and the workers had better work/life balance and better terms and conditions.

“I see collective bargaining as a win-win.”

Ms Rayner said care work could be “incredibly rewarding but it can be demoralising if you don’t get the time and the training to do the job properly”.

“You feel it personally,” she said.

Fair Pay Agreements would begin in the care sector but eventually be rolled out to other sectors.

“I think every industry should look at it,” said Ms Rayner.

They would work alongside existing pay agreements and legal minimums, such as the £10-an-hour minimum wage which Labour pledges for all workers.

In contrast, the Government’s “national living wage” – the rebranded minimum – is £8.91 an hour and only paid to workers aged 23 and over.

Angela Rayner talks to the Mirror’s Ben Glaze ahead of the Labour Party conference


Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Hourly minimum pay for under-18s is £4.62; the rate for workers aged 18 to 20 is £6.56; and the minimum for those aged 21 and 22 is £8.36.

Sipping tea at Powell’s Eats in South East London, where the words “Good Hope” are spelt on the wall, Ms Rayner, 41, expanded on her plan to overhaul workers’ rights.

Labour’s shake-up would “not only deliver for workers, which I think is crucial … it’s also good for our economy and local economies,” she said.

“We are in a cafe now – local people will be using this cafe. If they haven’t got any money, they won’t be coming here.

“It cross-pollinates other businesses and other sectors, so it’s an important part of our programme to make being a worker in Britain a much more pleasurable experience.

“People go to work to live – they don’t live for work.

“People should be able to have dignity and respect at work and, by empowering employees, it actually gives employers more.

“The best employers we’ve got know that and do this already.”

Labour activists head to Brighton on Saturday for their annual party conference – their first big face-to-face gathering for two years.

The 2020 edition was shelved because of coronavirus, with Keir Starmer delivering his maiden speech as leader to a deserted room while standing in front of a brick wall in Doncaster.

Sunshine and 20C temperatures are forecast for the south coast – and Angela Rayner is looking forward to the long-awaited reunion.

“Covid was really difficult for a hell of a lot of people and I don’t think anyone was not affected,” she said.

“I felt, when I was elected deputy leader, that my wings were clipped because ~I felt the frustration of not being able to engage and get out there.

“I think Keir also expressed that – he’d only ever spoken down the lens of a camera and never actually done a speech to people.

“I’m really looking forward to being out there.

“It’s going to be really good to get out there and put our vision forward.”

Trumpeting her speech, she added: “I’m starting conference on a very meaty footing – this is not a vegetarian dish, this has got plenty of meat in it.”

Read More

Read More

Source link

Back to top button