In a motion to Labour’s annual conference in Brighton, Usdaw called for proper and proactive enforcement of all employment rights to stop companies ignoring their statutory obligations and protect workers from exploitation.
The union is concerned by the Conservative Government's attitude to employment rights and enforcement has led to unethical working practices rising, including the increase in so-called 'flexible' work, such as zero and low hours contracts.
Usdaw today called for a coherent approach to helping workers on zero-hours and short-hours contracts, with those working regular hours having a right to be automatically offered a contract reflecting their normal hours.
Addressing delegates in moving composite motion 4 on workers’ rights, John Hannett - Usdaw General Secretary said:
“The workplace is a constantly changing environment with the challenge of productivity, the question of workers inequality and the insecurity so many workers face. Trade unions are problem solvers, not trouble makers. So as we face future challenges trade unions must be putting forward constructive policies.
“Usdaw has grown by over 100,000 members in the last decade, showing that workers will join if the offer and approach is right. To protect workers’ rights we have to increase union membership. With only 13.4% private sector workers in a union the challenge is enormous and we must meet it, because it’s only through independent trade unions that workers’ voices will be heard.
“This is a moment in time where we must seize the opportunity to protect workers. Look at the record of Labour in government against what our opponents have done in office. The Trade Union Act only seeks restrict our ability to campaign on workplace rights and issues, so our political activity goes hand-in-hand with our industrial negotiations. Employers have nothing to fear if they engage with trade unions, workers’ security depends on the success of business.
“We cannot assume that hard won rights are set in stone. So we have to campaign for a Labour victory so we can implement the values we stand for.”
Notes for editors:
Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers)
is the UK's fifth biggest trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 20% in the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the Union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.
For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news
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