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The leadership blogs - Jeremy Corbyn

Stronger Together

Trade unions are the most effective force for equality in our society. Research by The Spirit Level authors Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett show that greater pay equality correlates with higher trade union membership.

Britain already has the most restrictive anti-union laws in western Europe, and this government is about to tighten them further.

The Tories say this law is about democratic mandate. This is a deceit. We know this because they have rejected trade union proposals to boost turnout through secure workplace balloting, and because these rules won't apply to any political election or to any other organisations.

We must oppose this Bill, and make clear that if it passes it will be repealed under the next Labour government. If I am leader we will also put forward a new Bill that will expand trade union and employment rights so that working people can improve and defend their wages and rights at work.

The next Labour government must end the public sector pay cap, ensure the recommendations of national pay bodies are implemented, and restore national pay bargaining. And I will continue to campaign with you for an inflation-plus pay rise for public sector workers now.

Some of the worst examples of low pay and poor working conditions are to be found in the private sector, where too many workers lack trade union membership. We need to increase the resources going into enforcement of the minimum wage. The next Labour government must give trade unions the right to access workplaces to recruit and organise.

We also need to look at establishing wage councils with binding standards in some low paid industries, and extend the remit of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority into industries where exploitation and unsafe practices are worst.

In the mid-1990s then Labour leader John Smith set out a 'Charter for Employment Rights' to:

"give all working people basic rights that will come into force from the first day of their employment. We will give the same legal rights to every worker, part-time or full-time, temporary or permanent.

"We will give every working man and woman the right to protection against unfair dismissal, and access to health and safety protection. And every worker will have the right to join a trade union and have the right to union recognition."

That modest charter - for equal rights for all workers from day one - needs to be in the next Labour manifesto.

Abolishing of tribunal fees would help protect insecure workers, including pregnant women and mothers returning to work, who need and full employment rights from day one to protect them against unfair dismissal and an end to employment tribunal fees which prevent these women from getting justice. I have published a full women's manifesto 'Working with women'.

Our party was founded to stand up for workers and I have been proud to be trade unionist, trade union official, Labour councillor and Labour MP. I have always represented the labour movement to the best of my ability in each role, because our movement is about our collective strength. I want to thank ASLEF, BFAWU, CWU, TSSA, Unison and Unite for their support - and the many members of all unions who have backed my campaign.

I will never be ashamed to stand up for you, work with you, stand on picket lines with you. As members and trade unionists you must be involved in the party at every level to keep the new leader and MPs in touch with the workplaces and communities you represent. Together we will build the movement that will win the 2020 election.

Jeremy Corbyn is one of four candidates standing to be the next Labour leader which will be chosen by Labour Party members and affiliate supporters. If your trade union supports Labour you can sign-up to vote here for free http://www.unionstogether.org.uk/jeremy_corbyn.

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