BOSSES who blacklist workers should face “criminal penalties,” according to a Manifesto for Labour Law unveiled yesterday.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell and shadow trade unions minister Ian Lavery were due to speak last night at the launch of the manifesto, which was compiled by the Institute of Employment Rights in response to Labour’s Workplace 2020 consultation.
Other recommendations include the formation of a ministry of labour and reinstituting sectoral collective bargaining across the economy.
The authors, 15 leading labour-movement lawyers and academics, point out that the number of workers covered by collective bargaining agreements averages at 62 per cent in Europe and rises to as much as 80 per cent in strong economies like Germany but is less than 20 per cent in Britain.
Mr Lavery described the development of an industrial strategy as a “key priority” for Britain.
“Historically, trade unions have played an essential role in bridging the gap between workers, employers and the state and as such are best placed to take a central position in future industrial-relations strategies.”
Report co-author Professor Keith Ewing said that government policy had focused on “destroying collective bargaining, making it easier to hire and fire workers, provide them with insecure positions such as zero-hours contracts and pay them low wages” for the last 35 years.
Aside from making things worse for working people, this reduced productivity and made Britain more vulnerable to financial collapse, he said.
Fellow author John Hendy QC said: “Promoting greater wealth and opportunity among those on lower incomes stimulates a virtuous circle of growth.”