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Wed December 01 2021

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Labour adopts union policy proposals

22 Jul 14 If Labour wins next year’s general election, there will be an end to umbrella companies and a full public inquiry into construction’s blacklisting scandal.

These are just two of the measures put forward by construction unions and agreed by the Labour Party’s national policy forum last weekend.

On blacklisting the Labour Party has agreed that: “If the current government will not launch a full inquiry into the disgraceful practice of blacklisting in the construction industry the next Labour government will. This inquiry will be transparent and public to ensure the truth is set out.”

The policy statement adopted on employment status in the construction industry is: “False self-employment in construction is a scandal that is costing the taxpayer hundreds of millions each year…..The next Labour government will put this right by tackling problems with the Construction Industry Scheme and setting criteria for deeming contracts in the construction industry for an individual’s personal service to be employment contracts for the purpose of both taxation and employment rights, and will abolish the loopholes in existing deeming measures, including through the use of umbrella and payroll companies.”

Other issues close to the hearts of construction union activists have also made it into Labour policy. For example, papers relating to the 1972 trial of the Shrewsbury pickets will be made public.

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On pleural plaques it was agreed: “Labour will introduce legislation for a proper compensation scheme for sufferers of asbestosis and asbestos related conditions, ensuring they are given the payment they are duly owed without delay, by enshrining the levy on the insurance industry in law. This will secure a sustainable funding stream for compensation for victims and ongoing research into asbestos related diseases and their treatment. The compensation scheme will be extended to include pleural plaques should evidence be found to show pleural plaques are symptomatic.”

On the treatment of construction workers in Qatar it was agreed that: “Labour is appalled by the human rights abuses being perpetuated in Qatar and deprecates the system of sponsored employment known as the Kafala system; Labour calls on the Qatari authorities to adopt ILO Conventions of Freedom of Association and to ensure all migrant workers are covered by the standards contained in Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and legacy Worker’s Charter. If the Qatari authorities fail to take appropriate steps Labour will call for Qatar’s right to host the 2022 World Cup to be removed”.

Steve Murphy, general secretary of Ucatt, said: “Ucatt is delighted that Labour has agreed these commitments. Labour has listened to Ucatt concerns and the concerns of construction workers. The challenge will now be in ensuring they are implemented by securing a Labour victory at next year’s general election.”

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