The Labour Party in Blackpool: Dobson plan to expose low-pay employers

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The Independent Online
LABOUR revealed yesterday that it was about to adopt a tactic more readily associated with the anarchist group Class War.

Incensed by the widening gap between the well-off and the poor, Frank Dobson, the party's employment spokesman, said Labour intended to publish photographs of 'rich buggers' who paid poverty wages to their employees.

He launched his campaign ahead of next week's annual Conservative Party conference in Brighton, where he expects Gillian Shephard, the Secretary of State for Employment, to announce the abolition of statutory wages councils. The law, operating through the councils, stipulates minimum rates of between pounds 2.50 and pounds 3.10 for about 2.5 million workers, including hairdressers, shopworkers and bar staff. The Government argues that the councils have no place in a modern economy.

At a fringe meeting yesterday, Mr Dobson said: 'If you know of any of these Mercedes-driving bosses let me know and we will take a photograph of them on their way to their five-bedroomed country homes and publish what they are doing.'

Such a tactic might involve the 'politics of envy' but that was 'a powerful phrase'. Some of the rich business people who paid their workers low wages were 'thieving scum', he ventured, and most were Tories.

Mr Dobson called the Government 'stinking, lousy and incompetent'. Ministers 'believe Britain can only compete in Europe if we are on low pay and have longer hours and worse conditions than any other country', he said. The Government had 'thrown in the towel' over low pay.