‘Zero hours contracts will be banned’ under Labour! – McDonnell addresses TUC

TUC leaders and delegates launch a campaign for £10 an hour minimum wage at the TUC Congress in Manchester yesterday
TUC leaders and delegates launch a campaign for £10 an hour minimum wage at the TUC Congress in Manchester yesterday

‘ZERO hours contracts will be banned’ under a Labour government Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said yesterday in a keynote address to the TUC Congress in Manchester.

McDonnell said: ‘We will repeal the act which I fought so hard against. We will repeal the Trade Union Act in our first 100 days. ‘We will introduce a real living wage – £10 an hour.

‘And yes, we believe that public sector workers deserve a decent pay rise, and we support those unions still campaigning for a decent settlement now. ‘I was asked by the media after Treasury questions about what would I be doing if there were further strikes on the railway this Winter. I said “There are, they will be provoked by management,” but the role of a Labour MP is not just in parliament it is on the picket line, so I will be on the picket line with you.

‘We will nationalise the rail, bring water, electricity back under public ownership. ‘Our manifesto, For the Many not the Few, contains a simple set of policies that would put a complete stop to exploitation in the gig economy.

‘First, shift the burden of proof, so that the law treats you as a worker unless the employer can prove otherwise. ‘Second, extend full rights to all workers, including so-called “Limb (b)” workers, entitling everyone in insecure work to sick pay, maternity rights, and the right against unfair dismissal from day one of their employment.

‘Third, properly resource HMRC and fine employers who break the rules so that people get the rights they are entitled to. ‘The Taylor Report ignored a crucial lesson of history – that the most effective way to improve the lives of working people is through trade unions and collective action.

‘We won’t forget, because it’s the principle our movement was founded on.’

Earlier yesterday, delegates also spoke out against zero hours and short hours contracts. They voted unanimously for Motion 21: Continuing the Fight against Insecure Work.

It noted: ‘Congress praises unions who have taken cases through court but recognises that ultimately justice for working people will be achieved in the work place.’

The motion welcomes the Labour Party’s proposal for a new Ministry of Labour focusing on jobs.

It was moved by Tim Roach, GMB General Secretary, who said: ‘GMB took the case of Uber to the courts and won. The same with the courier companies. All across the movement work is being done to take on global giants. We’ve organised thousands of workers at Amazon. Jeff Bezos (Amazon boss) is the richest person on the planet. He’s big on fear for motivating.

‘Staff are left terrified to meet targets or to speak out. There have been 115 ambulance call outs in the last year alone. We call on the TUC to lend its support for workers to win.’

Seconding the motion Mark Armstrong, RMT, spoke out against Network Rail’s use of subcontractors. He said that they are on zero hours contracts. He added: ‘We have to restore permanent jobs under a nationalised railway.’

TUC delegates went on to vote unanimously for Motion 22: A Better Deal for Low-Paid Workers. This calls on the TUC to campaign for young workers to be paid the full adult rate – £10 an hour minimum – and tackle zero hours and short hours contracts through introducing a statutory minimum contract of 16 hours a week.