A Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour government would set up a Ministry of Labour to take the side of workers and create a “more secure, better trained workforce”, the leadership frontrunner has said.
Mr Corbyn, who is on course to win the Labour leadership election, argued that a specific government department should be responsible for employment issues, which are scattered between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Britain previously had a Ministry of Labour, which was established in 1916 by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition under then prime minister David Lloyd George.
The ministry looked after measures to reduce unemployment such as labour exchanges and dealt with industrial relations issues like sectoral minimum wages and health and safety regulations.
By the 1970s it became the Department for Employment and later the Department for Work and Pensions, which mainly focuses on issues to do with the welfare system.
“What I’m looking for is a comprehensive access of workers’ rights legislation in the next parliament which would repeal much of what the Conservatives are doing – particularly the latest piece of anti-trade union legislation they’re introducing,” he said in a video interview with the Communication Workers’ Union.
“[I’d] also recreate a Ministry of Labour so that we have a specific government department whose job it is to deal with work, working conditions, and the issue that go with that. We’d actually create a more secure, better trained workforce.”
The CWU trade union, which mainly represents postal workers, has endorsed Mr Corbyn as the next leader of the party. The union's general secretary Dave Ward welcomed the candidate's new commitments.
“The announcement by Jeremy Corbyn that he would introduce Workers’ Rights Legislation and set up a Ministry of Labour is significant. The world of work has changed dramatically in a short space of time and with the explosion of insecure employment models in recent years, there is a clear need for government to redress the balance of power between employees and employers," he told the Independent.
“As a country we need to start to put people before profits. There has been a worrying growth in zero hour contracts, continued exploitation of agency workers through loopholes in the regulations and a growing scarcity in permanent full time jobs. The anti-trade union laws being put forward by the government shift things in the wrong direction – Jeremy is proposing a solution to a 21st century problem.”
Labour leadership: The Contenders
Labour leadership: The Contenders
1/4 Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn readily admits he is only standing to ensure the left of the party is given a voice in a contest dominated by candidates promising to move the party towards the centre-ground of British politics
Profiles by Matt Dathan
2/4 Andy Burnham
Andy Burnham is the current front-runner to win the leadership election according to bookmakers, but the fact that the Conservative party leadership hopes he wins shows the task that awaits if he is Ed Miliband’s successor. He will have to find a way of distancing himself from both the last five years under Mr Miliband and the Blair and Brown years, during which he served in the Cabinet
3/4 Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper will also face a battle in convincing voters she offers a sufficient break with the past, having served in Gordon Brown’s Cabinet and she played a key role in Mr Miliband’s team as shadow home secretary. The fact that her husband is Ed Balls will not have a negative impact internally but voters are not likely to look favourably on the prospect of Mr Miliband’s ousted shadow chancellor entering Downing Street if Ms Cooper wins in 2020
4/4 Liz Kendall
Liz Kendall faces criticism over her lack of experience – she was only elected in 2010 and has no experience of serving in government and wasn't even in Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet. But that very lack of experience means she can make a pitch as the only candidate offering real change and a real break from the Blair/Brown/Miliband years
Mr Corbyn also said it was imperative that workers had access to employment tribunals when they needed them and had the right to join a trade union if they wanted to.
A poll by YouGov for the Times newspaper released last night found that Mr Corbyn had opened up a huge lead in the Labour leadership election.
Though accurate polling of the contest is difficult, Mr Corbyn has also recorded the highest level of support in local constituency party nominations and attracted mass crowds to rallies.
The three other candidates for leadership of the Labour party are Liz Kendall, Andy Burnham, and Yvette Cooper.Reuse content