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Rayner denies Labour is watering down commitment to strengthen workers' rights

by Matt Trinder

LABOUR’S increasingly right-wing central office is not watering down the party’s commitment to strengthen workers’ rights, deputy leader Angela Rayner claimed yesterday.

The Ashton-under-Lyne MP was responding to reports in the Financial Times (FT) newspaper that leader Sir Keir Starmer has scaled back Labour pledges to tackle the abuse of gig economy workers in an attempt to woo corporate backers.

Ms Rayner argued that her party is “far from watering it down” and would continue to offer a range of new employee protections.

But shadow education minister Stephen Morgan did his best to muddy the waters by echoing Thatcher-fan boy Tony Blair and stressing a future Labour government would be both “pro-worker and pro-business.”

In Twitter post, Ms Rayner said: “Labour’s new deal for working people will be the biggest levelling up of workers’ rights in decades — providing security, treating workers fairly and paying a decent wage.”

The 43-year-old, who is also shadow future of work secretary, insisted that the approach — agreed in 2021 — would include banning zero-hours contracts, making flexible working a day one entitlement and reviewing parental leave rights.

She added: “I’m proud that we developed our comprehensive new deal together with Labour’s affiliated unions.

“Far from watering it down, we will set out in detail how we will implement it and tackle the Tories’ scaremongering.”

However, the FT said the wording of the pledges, which also involved plans to create a single employment status for all but the self-employed, were diluted following Labour’s national policy forum last month, with the party now planning to consult on the reforms before introducing them.

Mr Morgan claimed that the party would set out full policy plans at its annual conference in Liverpool this October.

The Portsmouth South member told Sky News: “Obviously we will set out more detail in our manifesto, but the Labour Party can be pro-worker and pro-business.

“We have got a really good relationship with business now, we can be trusted to run our economy and our country, and we have got a set of policies which are pro-worker too.”

Grassroots group Momentum tweeted: “It’s only by being bold that we can rebalance this economy away from the few and towards the many.

“Doing that means listening to trade unions, not millionaire chief executives — it means real Labour values.”

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