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Protest Corbyn’s pledge to TUC New Deal rally: We’ll give workers a voice

WILL STONE reports from central London

JEREMY CORBYN pledged a future Labour government would guarantee workers "a say in their future" and give them more rights in a rousing speech at Saturday’s mass TUC rally.

The Labour leader made the pledge as he addressed tens of thousands who marched through London to demand a new deal for workers, including an end to zero hours contracts and the 1 per cent pay cap.

He told the rally: "Asda and Sainsbury's decide they want to merge. Were any workers consulted, were any workers guaranteed jobs at the end of it, were they part of the equation?

"What (shadow chancellor) John McDonnell has set out on our behalf is that in the event of mergers, takeovers or closures, the workers will have to have a say and a voice to what happens to them in the future.

"We will give workers more power by strengthening their rights and freedoms to organise together to improve their lives."

The TUC published research showing that workers were suffering the longest wage squeeze in modern history.

Real wages are worth £24 a week less than in 2008, a decade on from the financial crisis, the TUC found.

The trade union organisation highlighted that wage stagnation is the worst for 200 years, with the average worker losing around £18,500 in real terms by 2025.

"The government has presided over the biggest wage squeeze since the Napoleonic era," TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes told the rally.

"Jeremy Corbyn is going to confine austerity to the dustbin of history."

CWU general secretary Dave Ward stormed: "Never before has there been a day where workers worked harder for less, with record levels of in-work poverty."

He said the day is the "start of the biggest campaign for decades" to deliver a new deal for workers.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis called on workers to create "a hostile environment" for Prime Minister Theresa May for her racism and austerity.

“Most public service workers — the cooks, the cleaners, the carers, many of them women — earn less in a year than some people in this country make in a day," he said.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said it is "an absolute disgrace" that there are "people within our own ranks" who aid and abet Mr Corbyn's attackers.

He said: "I don't really like attacking right-wing Labour MPs, well not much anyway, but sometimes you just can't help it.

"I want to say to those who are constantly attacking our values and our beliefs and our leader. Stop now. Enough is enough.

"Start fighting for the working people that give you the privilege of representing them in parliament. If you can't do that, then do a Tristram Hunt and go and find another cushy job to do."

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka condemned the public sector pay cap that has left workers suffering 11 years of consecutive pay cuts.

He announced that, if their forthcoming conference agrees, the union will move to a statutory strike ballot of 150,000 civil servants.

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