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JEREMY CORBYN pledged to solve Britain’s joblessness crisis yesterday by creating a new Ministry of Labour, after an opinion poll indicated he would win the Labour leadership in the first round of voting.
Mr Corbyn said a Labour government under his leadership would immediately introduce a “comprehensive” law protecting workers’ rights and repealing curbs on union organising.
The leftwinger’s pledge comes as a group of 12 academics specialising in labour relations said the Tories’ Trade Union Bill was “the most sustained attack on trade union and workers’ rights since the Combination Laws.”
In a video responding to questions from members of the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU), which has nominated him for the leadership, Mr Corbyn said Britain required a “specific government department whose job is to deal with work and working conditions, health and safety and the issues that go with that.”
He said Britain’s workplaces were plagued by a culture where it was “too easy to sack people, there are too few employment rights and too little access to employment justice and to employment tribunals.”
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said the announcement of the new department was “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 said.
“As a country we need to start to put people before profits. There has been a worrying growth in zero-hours 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, and Jeremy is proposing a solution to a 21st-century problem.”
The 12 academics, led by University of Leeds professor Mark Stuart, say the Tory anti-union measures will lead to an increase in “endemic low-pay and insecure terms and conditions” among non-unionised workers as well as union members.
“Trade unions in Britain are not too strong, but too weak,” they stress.
Yesterday Mr Corbyn urged “caution” after a YouGov poll said he would win a whopping 53 per cent of the vote in Labour’s leadership election.
The survey showed the Islington North MP had almost doubled his lead over shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, from 17 percentage points last month to 32.
Mr Corbyn’s lead was stronger among women and working-class members of Labour’s 400,000-strong “selectorate” — made up of party members, trade unionists who have opted in for a vote and supporters who have paid a one-off £3 to register with the party.
If the poll were replicated in the actual result, Mr Corbyn would snatch victory without any second preference votes coming into play.
The deadline to register to vote in the election is noon today.
Labour has reportedly stopped 1,200 voters from registering so far, including 214 past Green Party candidates, 37 who stood for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, and 13 Tories.
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