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Hello Congress,

Thank you for inviting me to speak today

It’s always a pleasure to address the TUC

And it’s fantastic to be in Liverpool

The hometown of so many legends

the Beatles

the Albert Docks

and of course,

Paul Nowak

I remember when I first met Paul as a young

trade unionist

Well, I was!

I want to pay tribute to Paul

In his first year as General Secretary

It’s been uneventful ... right?

From facing down the Tories’ vicious Minimum Service Levels Bill

To their insulting refusal to get around the table with public sector workers

To the economic crisis caused in Downing Street but paid for out of your pockets

Throughout you’ve been a powerful advocate for workers’ rights

Thank you.

I come here with one message today

That the next Labour Government will build an economy that works for working people

With a New Deal for Working People.

And Labour will start by bringing forward an Employment Rights Bill to legislate for this

Within the first 100 days of entering office

That's a cast-iron commitment

Not only because this will be good for working people, and good for our wider economy

But because our fair work agenda will be key to how we bring opportunity to every corner of this country

Last week, Keir appointed me

Shadow Deputy

Prime Minister

Strategic Lead for Labour’s New Deal for Working People

And Shadow Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Almost as many jobs

as I had before

I’m delighted to be in this new post

As a young, single mum,

it was a Labour Government that levelled the playing field for me

When I most needed it,

a council house gave me and my son a secure home instead of sofa surfing

That in turn meant I could go out and find the job that

I built a life upon

The minimum wage meant

that I earned more

A local authority job gave me better skills at work,

and a Sure Start centre, gave me better skills as a parent

And joining a union changed my whole life

It was thanks to my union, UNISON, that I was able to improve my life - and life for my fellow workers who I represented

I may have been born in Stockport, but I was raised in the trade union movement

That kind of Levelling Up transformed my life and my prospects - because it was done right

A house and a job

a good unionised job -  with decent conditions

a thriving community, empowered to create good local services and educational opportunities

These things were my lifeline and they're what REAL Levelling Up means to me

What Levelling Up could have been, and could still be

Good jobs and secure homes are the foundations of thriving lives and of a strong economy

True growth, which benefits all people in all places of Britain is built on the pillars of decent jobs and secure housing

They were the pillars I relied upon to get to where I am today

But the foundations

I needed to improve my life and my community has instead been levelled down by the Tories

With house building and wages plummeting across the whole country, the government’s agenda is a sham - and a scam

The mask has slipped, and the public have seen the truth - warm words and politically driven hand-outs won't touch the sides

An empty slogan won’t pay decent wages

False promises won’t build secure homes

And a sound bite won’t empower local people and local communities to take control of their futures


Never has this been so important

Thirteen years of Tory failure has left our economy shattered

People are on the brink

With a cycle of insecure work, poor pay and grave conditions

Recent scandals like

P&O ferries show how

Bad Bosses can undercut the market

This Government hasn’t just turned their backs on vulnerable workers but our entire economy!

Be in no doubt

Tory Ministers are the only workers that can get fired and rehired on better terms and conditions!

Failing upwards

Whilst everyone else is pushed down - including you

For far too long, unions have had barriers put in the way of your work

Damaging industrial relations and worsening disputes

The Tories pushed through the 2016 Trade Union Act, preventing fair bargaining and holding back living standards

And this year they gave us… The Minimum Service Levels Bill

A spiteful and bitter attack that threatens nurses with the sack

We know going on strike is always a last resort

But it’s a fundamental freedom that must be respected

So let me tell you loud and clear

The next Labour Government will ask Parliament to repeal these anti-trade union laws within our first 100 days

So that you can get on with your jobs of negotiating  better for your members

I make no apologies that we will work hand-in-hand with trade unions

As we will work with business

To deliver a real partnership based on mutual respect


And negotiation

Labour’s New Deal for Working People will transform ordinary working people’s lives

Work will finally pay

Rights will be properly enforced

And crucially it will strengthen the role of trade unions in our society

This is vital

Because the New Deal wasn’t created in an ivory tower by politicians

It was developed in collaboration with you

The trade union movement

And it will be delivered with you

Key to this, we will update trade union laws to make them fit for the twenty-first century

Because for too long these have failed to keep pace with the hard reality on the ground

Take the laws protecting reps and officials

Which don’t account for

the technological advancements of the past 10 years

Or how fragmented workplaces actually operate today

Leaving you unprotected and exposed to harassment or the sack

Not just hampering your ability to properly represent, and negotiate for your members

But ruining lives and livelihoods

I started on the shop floor and I know how hard it is out there

The Consulting Association Scandal that blacklisted thousands of union workers

Must never be allowed to happen again

Which is why I’m pleased to announce today

That the next Labour Government will act decisively and conclusively to stamp out blacklisting once and for all

First, we will update regulations to outlaw the use of predictive technologies for blacklisting

And safeguard against singling out workers for mistreatment or the sack without any evidence of human interaction

Second, we will act to end the loophole that allows employers to pass the dirty work down to third party contractors

So that any third party found to be carrying out blacklisting can legally be held to account

Third, we will give Employment Tribunals the power to order the destruction of any list

 - digital or not -

to stop them from being hidden or used again

Finally, we will ensure lessons are learnt from past historic injustices,

so that these scandals can never happen again

We support a full investigation into the violent events at Orgreave

And in Government we would launch a review into and release the official documents relating to the Cammell Laird prosecutions

And that’s not all

We will give trade unions a new legal, reasonable right to access workplaces

Like your sister unions have in Australia,

New Zealand,

the Nordic states,

and more

This will be underpinned by a regulated legal framework

There will be clear responsibilities and rules for all sides to follow

Allowing you to meet, represent, recruit and organise members

So that you can get on with your jobs to build stronger, happier and more productive workplaces

Without threat or menace from rogue employers.

As we’ve seen with Amazon, a small minority of employers are taking advantage of the lack of regulations

To frustrate the process

This is neither fair to workers nor productive to our wider economy

And it only frustrates disputes, making it harder to come to a resolution

Good employers know the value of a trade union

We will also simplify the statutory recognition process

To ensure that gig economy and remote workers can meaningfully organise through trade unions

And we’ll level up the rules to allow trade unions to use secure and private electronic balloting when engaging, communicating with and polling their members

Including for workplace ballots.

And that’s still not all

We’ll boost collective bargaining, both at a firm level and sectorally

Starting with a Fair Pay Agreement in adult social care

We will empower workers, the trade unions that represent them and employers in this sector to negotiate fair pay, terms and conditions - like training

in-staff benefits and more

As a former social care worker, I cannot overstate the difference this will make

Not only to these

low-paid and far too often overlooked workers

But also to our entire health care system, weighed down by years of Tory neglect

We'll also protect existing sector-wide deals like the fire and rescue services’ National Joint Council

And support workers to meaningfully organise together to improve their terms and conditions

This is because we agree with the O.E.C.D. that collective bargaining isn’t just good for workers

But it can also be key to helping companies and their staff adapt to technological and societal change


There’s even more

Day one basic rights

A ban on zero hour contracts

An end to fire and rehire

Family friendly working

Strengthened sick pay, making it available to all workers

Including the lowest earners

And from day one

We’ll go faster and quicker to end the gender pay gap

Address unequal pay

Tackle sexual harassment at work

Put mental health on a par with physical health

And we’ll bring in a proper living wage that people can actually live on

This isn’t only good for workers

It’s essential to growing the economy and raising living standards once more

The State will take a more active and strategic role in our economy by fixing the UK’s broken labour market

Giving businesses the confidence they need to invest in our infrastructure and people once more

It’s how we will boost people’s pay

So that they have more money in their pockets to spend down their local high street

And how we will turn the Tories’ failure on productivity on its head

Because a healthier, happier and motivated workforce is good for the bottom line

Make no mistake, this agenda is good for workers, our economy and for business

Labour has a comprehensive plan to create good jobs across the entire country and raise living standards

 - all through our new deal for working people

Alongside decent work, Labour has a plan to fix the housing crisis by building more homes

Homes people can afford to live in, with priority given to local people - and yes, that means more council houses

The Tories are no longer the party of home ownership 

 - that's Labour.

A party that will be on your side - and that will govern in the interests of the whole country

Good jobs and secure homes are the foundations of thriving lives - and the foundation of a strong economy

True growth, that benefits

all people

And so now the battle for the General Election is just getting started

And it’s not going to be easy

But this country cannot survive another five years of Tory rule

Ask yourself

What will we be left with?

There’s no doubt, Labour has to win

But to get this victory, we have to come together

Stand together

And campaign side-by-side

And we need your help and backing to get the word out about the New Deal for Working People

This is our platform to make Britain work for working people once again

 - That’s what is at stake.

 - That’s what our shared future can be

And so join me, to fight for it together!

Thank you

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