From the TUC

This election is a chance for a new deal for working people: Let’s not waste it

06 Jun 2017, By

It seems that every election, the parties tell us it’s the most important election for a generation. But this one genuinely could be. Whoever ends up forming the next government, at the top of their in-tray will be striking a new deal with our European neighbours as we leave the EU.

That’s going to be hard any way you look at it, but if it’s going to have any chance of working, it has to be matched by an equal commitment to forge a new deal for the UK’s working people.

The TUC is determined that working people must not end up paying a price for Brexit. We need to get the economy working for workers again.

Fairness at work

Many of our key work rights are underpinned by EU law, from work breaks and family friendly rights to discrimination protections. We’ve already heard voices on the right of business and politics calling for regulations like long hours protections to be cut. We need to commit to keep every single one our current employment rights.

We also need to commit to match new rights coming down the track in the EU, so UK workers don’t fall behind our neighbours. Turning the UK into Europe’s bargain basement labour market will hurt our own people and start a race to the bottom on standards across Europe. Nobody wins.


“I’ve been driving lorries at night, since I left the army 30 years ago. When I started, there was no limit on the hours I could do overnight. I was doing between 60-70 hours per week – which was just unsafe. EU laws limit the amount of hours that I have to work each week which makes the road safer.”
Kevin, long-distance driver

Protection from growing insecurity

And as the world of work changes, we’re going to need new employment laws to protect us. The UK has seen employment growing again, but a huge proportion of that growth has been fuelled by new types of insecure, temporary or low paid work. This is transferring more and more economic risk from companies onto workers themselves – at a time when top executives are rewarding themselves with ever greater shares of the profits.

Zero hours contracts are growing at a frightening rate – likely to pass one million during the next parliament if we don’t see real action on them, backed up by enforceable legal rights, not warm words and voluntary schemes.


“I work in a top London hotel. The problems we face in our industry are a lot of zero hours contracts, a lot of forced overtime. We have a lot of young workers, who can often be the most easily exploited and easily disposable to employers.”
Sophie, waitress

Building great jobs, right across the UK

And we need to see government taking a much more active role in building the industries and jobs we’ll need if the UK is to thrive in the years ahead after we leave the EU. High tech companies offering skilled jobs with better pay. National infrastructure projects to make it all fit together. None of that happens by chance, and the recent years’ approach of leaving it to the market, whilst our strategic industries die off or get bought up overseas, can’t be allowed to continue.


“I work in high tech manufacturing with a world-leading firm, but these are challenging times for our sector. We want more support for collaborative research programs and an investment strategy to provide the quality, well paid jobs we’ll need for the future.”
Mark, senior union rep in manufacturing & works council chair

For all the talk of a Northern Powerhouse, we’ve seen London and the South East swallow up a greater share of the economy every year for a decade now. By 2022, London and the South East will account for a staggering 40% of total UK GDP. We don’t want to do down the areas that are doing well, but we need to raise up those that are in increasing danger of being left behind. The damage done to huge areas of the country after careless deindustrialisation in the 80s mustn’t happen again.

Britain still needs a pay rise

And all of this is hitting our living standards hard. At the TUC, we’ve been saying that “Britain needs a pay rise” for 5 years already, and most people still haven’t seen theirs. We’re still stuck in the longest pay squeeze on record. Average real earnings won’t be back to their pre-crash levels until the end of the next parliament.

Some of this is self-inflicted. The government’s policy of holding down pay for public servants has meant real hardship for many. Teachers, firefighters and council workers have lost 10% of the value of their wages already as prices have risen, but wages stayed frozen. It’s leading to widespread demoralisation in public services. The number of nurses quitting the profession at the moment has landed the NHS with a huge bill for more expensive agency staff to plug the gaps.


“Over the years, there’s been a 1% pay rise for 7 or 8 years now. And it’s the equivalent of a pay cut, year after year, after year. Food, petrol, housing, everything is going up. Something’s got to give.”
Sue, leisure centre receptionist

But the pay squeeze is being felt everywhere. Average pay rises will be lower than inflation again next year, adding to the strain on household budgets. The average worker is £1,200 worse off in real terms than they were in 2008. As personal debt rises past the levels we saw just before the crash, this can’t go on much longer.

So when politicians tell us this general election is an important choice, let’s hold them to it. Few of us expected or wanted this election, but now that it’s here it’s a chance to press all the parties on exactly what they’re intending to do for workers.

And it’s a chance for us to show whoever wins this week that working people aren’t willing to put up with a raw deal on jobs and living standards. We’ll work to hold our new government to their promises and to make sure that as well as a new deal with the EU, we get a new deal for Britain’s workers. Our country won’t succeed in the world unless we all succeed together.

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21 Responses to This election is a chance for a new deal for working people: Let’s not waste it

  1. Roger Bennett
    Jun 6th 2017, 9:17 am

    The employers in this country need also to change there altitude to the way they look at employees far too easily employers have drifted back to Dickensian time that because they pay you they own you but they don’t.Staff are working in offices and companies with out proper working breaks eating at their desk’s no proper toilet breaks and the like.

  2. Pauline Adams
    Jun 6th 2017, 9:18 am

    We need a Labour Government, or, at the very least, a strong opposition. The Labour voice needs to impact on the BREXIT discussions, as the outcome will impact heavily on the workers, and their living standards, within the UK.

  3. Liz Williamson
    Jun 6th 2017, 9:19 am

    A pity there wasn’t a call to at least ask people to vote for Labour since it’s the only party that could deliver on these issues. If that sticks in the throat, at least ask people not to vote Tory as we don’t stand any chance if they form the next government.
    If you sit on the fence you get splinters.

  4. Joe Pengelly
    Jun 6th 2017, 9:24 am

    We are at war with the corporations. You are weak and abide by the rules created by ministers working for the corps. Forget the law and do something powerful. We are many and they are few. Where is the rallying cry? How did the unions begin? Did you forget? This is a war and we are losing badly. Talk all you like but you’ll get nowhere. Action, and very severe action, is what is needed now. The people are ready.

  5. Geoff Hutton
    Jun 6th 2017, 9:31 am

    The only party that that is trying to better the lives of the poorly paid, the sick, disabled or unemployed is the Labour Party. This party was formed from the organised labour, then strong unions, that the miners, steelworkers, mill workers hard fought for. How times have changed, now we have zero hours contracts, if you refuse a zero hours contracted job while unemployed, you are sanctioned, with no payment at all, jobless probably ending up homeless too. I worked up until five years when i had to leave my job because of injuries sustained through it, I am 65 years old, the only party that can help save the plight of the working and underclasses is Labour.

  6. Geoff Hutton
    Jun 6th 2017, 9:43 am

    The Labour Party, won a massive landslide victory in 1945, they improved conditions for all in 1947 with the introduction of the NHS and The Welfare State. The NHS was the jewel in the crown, the Welfare State was a safety net for those losing their jobs, being injured at work or being made redundant or laid off. The Tories have systematically under funded both of the above, and are half way through destroying them, please don’t let this happen, for your sake, your kids sake or your grand kids.

  7. Darrall Cozens
    Jun 6th 2017, 10:40 am

    An interesting blog but where is the call to vote Labour? Is the TUC sitting on the fence again or has it become non-political? The TUC is the organised industrial expression of the working class and the Labour Party is the organised political expression of the working class. Shouldn’t the two wings of our movement come together at this time with a common aim? Kick out the Tories! Vote Labour. Fight for Socialist Policies.

  8. Steve B
    Jun 6th 2017, 11:35 am

    It’s time for change, let’s rid the country of the class system for a start, that would help a lot. As Joe Pengelly stated earlier this is war against the corporations who have got too powerful. A redistribution of wealth is needed urgently. Sitting on the fence is not a good idea in these troubled times, we need action, now! Not a prickly splintered ass.

  9. Grenville Taylor
    Jun 6th 2017, 11:39 am

    We need to ensure whoever governs governs on behalf of people not businesses. Businesses should not need nor get taxpayers support neither directly nor indirectly even by undue influence. Furthermore business should stop being allowed to be a conduit for avoiding individual responsibility for criminal acts. Whilst it is right and just that business should pay compensation to injured parties they should not be allowed to cover up individual wrongdoing by blaming businesses. Doing so is no different to allowing murders and terrorist to blame the tools they use to commit such crimes.
    So called “Free Trade” (inclusive of the overdone phrase of “Free Movement of goods and people”) needs serious modification to make it responsibly acceptable subsides fair trade. Free movement of people must not be included nor allowed to be in anyway related to trade agreement. It is criminal that people should be traded in any-way-shape-or-form. The right of free movement of people must be governed under humane rights not trade deals. The same should be true of transfers of undertakings. Employees (along with their pensions etc) must have the right to choose who they work for not transferred as mere goods and chattels. It is disgraceful that union have been complicit in what in many cases is a blatant sale of workers and their pensions etc. As a live long trade union member I like many others suffered badly from this TU complicity with people traders and would like both a retraction from this position and explanation of why TUC agreed to it.

  10. Professor R. J. Pike
    Jun 6th 2017, 11:41 am

    It’s all good stuff, but I see no recommendation for readers to vote for their local Labour Candidate. It is the only way they will achieve the objectives that we all aspire to. We have no idea how close this election is. Every vote counts.!
    It’s not too late to change the course of history. Don’t waste it, Please.

  11. Robert Ormerod
    Jun 6th 2017, 12:48 pm

    The situation now is as the Edward Murrow quote “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves”
    How do we awaken the masses to what is going on?
    There should be a concerted effort by the hugely divided elements on the left to join forces and organise.

  12. Jim french
    Jun 6th 2017, 1:33 pm

    I’ve worked in construction all my life I’ve also had the privilege to represent the workers as a regional officer and secretary of there was ever an industry that was exploited unsafe practice s low wages and illegal employment practices construction is it an industry that was the barometer of the economy now it’s a mishmash of cowboys we need to see the return of direct labour building council houses this will grow the economy and employ builders on legitimate contracts with safe working conditions with the return of national agreement s for the whole industry I’m a member of unite now and hope they will push for a better industry with labour

  13. Caroline Wilkinson
    Jun 6th 2017, 5:22 pm

    Back Jeremy Corbyn, don’t be shy, he is the guy!
    Never been so keen on a Labour Leader before, and the best thing is it’s the young people of this land who will pull this together for us…… last a politician we can believe in. Get out n vote for your children and grandchildren.
    Wipe the smug look off the faces of the Tories and career politicians on all sides….we are the many!

  14. Geoff Hutton
    Jun 6th 2017, 6:43 pm

    JC is the ONLY leader who can improve things for the people bottom of the heap, who are struggling to make ends meet, whether working or not. I will be voting Labour just like I have since 1973, I hope enough folk see that the Tories only offer more austerity, more sanctions, more homeless, and more poverty. Vote Labour, as far as I’m concerned its the lower classes last stand against greed and selfishness, promoted by those currently in power.

  15. Barry Stone
    Jun 6th 2017, 9:10 pm

    Like a few others on here I see this as an opportunity missed, why are you shy of actually advising people to vote Labour? This has been the problem for far too long, we’ve had the unions and the (pink tory) Labour Party hand in glove with the bosses, the union activists are doing their damndest to try and protect their members, but they can only do so much without help. VOTE LABOUR ON THURSDAY


  16. joyce
    Jun 6th 2017, 9:16 pm

    Come on people, use your votes and make them count.
    Stop allowing yourselves to be eaten by wolves.
    The present government don’t care.
    Believe it or not, we are a very rich country. Ask yourself where is all the money going.
    How comes the rich are given massive bonuses and pay rises by the millions and working class people recieve a pittance or none at all?
    How can the economy rise and prosper if we the working class don’t have enough money to spend to sustain it.

  17. Gerry The Bhoyo
    Jun 7th 2017, 3:58 am

    I now believe we can win this Election, in fact if the Tories win, serious questions have to be asked, every time you see Jeremy Corbyn at a Rally there are Thousands there come rain or shine, May on the other hand would struggle to fill a phone box, she looks like she is auditioning for one man and his dog, because there does not appear to be the amount of support for her as the media seem to be implying. Anyway please have a look at the link below Tomorrow is the big day, oh and before I forget NHS Improvement were prevented from releasing/publishing Key Financial Performance Data until after the Election (I Wonder why) the Tories are at it again, both they and the Dept of Health refused to comment, No Surprise There Then. can you please all pass this Information on to others via Twitter and Facebook also please see below Thank You an #LETS MAKE JUNE THE END OF MAY

    Every vote counts, so why not take a minute to send this email round to friends and family, or post the link on Facebook so they can see the best way to stop the Tory landslide where they live.


    Are there any Avaaz or 38%Degrees Members out there who want to help keep the Tories out? If so click on the link below to find out how, Also anyone wishing to help Labour and Helen Goodman Locally are welcome to join us on Thursday between 7 and 10 o clock at

    100 Byerley Road Shildon Dl4 1HP

  18. T. Malcolm Lakin
    Jun 7th 2017, 12:38 pm

    Oh, it’s been a real trip down memory lane reading the blog and many of the above comments; to the halcyon days of the 1970’s (forget the 3-day week, rubbish piling up in the streets and electricity cuts) with talk of ‘workers’, capitalists’, ‘class’, exploitation’ etc. A real feast of Marxist class relations and societal conflict. It’s nice to reminisce, isn’t it? It gives one a nice warm feeling inside to think, like so much of history, it could be repeated. It lifts one’s spirit and makes one’s heart skip a beat.
    Now the Labour Party’s manifesto has some interesting ideas, some even attract merit, and there are one or two, mentioned in the blog, I could support, but overall, it’s a ‘Free Ice Cream for Everyone’ manifesto, that has failed to stand up to scrutiny. Also, whilst many now agree unequivocally that JC, as he is affectionately known, is a principled and morally upright person, something rare in life let alone in politics, but how can anyone think he has the credentials to be a leader, let alone a Prime Minister. Unless, of course, to use a phrase from the world of personal finance: “past performance is no indication of future results”.
    Still, if you get your wish and he does enter the door of number 10, then I had better brush off my flared hipster trousers – no guarantee they will fit. I might consider growing a beard again, but genes and the aging process prohibit me from growing my hair long.
    PS. I have voted Labour for more years than I care to remember and was a member of JC’s LP (Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party) for a number of those years.

  19. Pat Collins
    Jun 7th 2017, 2:34 pm

    I have to say that agree with the majority it is disappointing that the TUC has failed come out an openly support the Labour Party. The choice in this election is clear, you either support Theresa May’s Conservatives and end with more austerity and further attacks on the Trade Unions and working people, or you support Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party who is trying to provide a fairer society. As a trade unionist for over 40 years in my opinion it has to be latter!

  20. The election result shows that we need a new deal for working people
    Jun 9th 2017, 9:57 am

    […] To turn this around, the next government must deliver a new deal for working people. […]

  21. Geoff Hutton
    Jun 10th 2017, 3:12 pm

    It must deliver a fairer deal for all ordinary folk, working people, the unemployed , the sick, or the mentally or physically disabled. The Labour Manifesto does make a lot of sense, while the Tories advocate annihilation of the NHS and The welfare State, where greed is good, and everything else is bad. This first past the post system does not work and needs to be replaced with PR, which is much a fairer way of power sharing and representation.