Rayner outlines plans to improve working conditions and overhaul procurement

Angela Rayner has vowed to improve workers’ conditions (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
Angela Rayner has vowed to improve workers’ conditions (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

Deputy leader Angela Rayner said Labour would introduce a “fair work” standard to improve workers’ conditions alongside plans to overhaul Government procurement and outsourcing.

In her first speech to the Labour Party conference, Ms Rayner said if in power her party would oversee the “biggest wave of insourcing for a generation” and give the self-employed the right to a written contract and “timely” payment.

Ms Rayner also vowed to defend the right to strike and, if in power, to repeal “anti-worker and anti-trade union laws”.

A “fair work gold standard” will champion employers providing a certain standard of conditions and underpin a new “fair work code for the public sector, guaranteeing fair conditions, job security, wellbeing, proper training, rights at work and union access”, she said.

Ms Rayner, also Labour’s shadow secretary of state for the future of work, said the changes show the party does not just have a vision, but also a plan, saying it would “always be on the side of working people”.

“The Tories have broken Britain, but together we’ll rebuild it again,” she said.

On procurement, Ms Rayner said a “value for money guarantee” would “ensure that every single penny of taxpayers’ money provides the best possible value to the public”.

Vowing to turn the “Tory procurement racket on its head”, Ms Rayner said the party’s five-point national procurement plan would reward businesses that “pay their taxes and their workers properly”.

Labour would give small enterprise a “level playing field” at winning Government contracts, she said, vowing to “cut red tape and streamline the bidding process, giving small businesses a genuine shot”.

“It will no longer just be the giant corporations with the glossiest leaflet that wins. Everyone will get a fair chance,” she said.

Ms Rayner said Labour would raise standards by “clawing back the public’s money from those who fail to deliver for taxpayers”, saying “striking off failed providers” would ensure failure would not be rewarded, highlighting money lost on unusable PPE.

And she announced plans for a “public dashboard of Government contracts”, saying there would be “no hiding place for cronies and no corner for corruption”.

The dashboard was inspired by Ukraine’s anti-corruption blueprint, saying “even under attack from Russia they are honest about how they spend public money – so what’s the Tories’ excuse?”

On employment rights, Ms Rayner announced a “fair work standard”, adding: “It will underpin a new fair work code for the public sector, guaranteeing fair conditions, job security, wellbeing, proper training, rights at work, and union access.

“We will also create a fair work gold standard to champion the very best of employers, and a Labour government will be on the side of the self-employed too.

“We will give genuinely self-employed workers the right to a written contract and timely payment by law so they aren’t left out of pocket and chasing invoices.

“Because our fair work standard will raise standards for all.”

She also told the conference: “We will oversee the biggest wave of insourcing for a generation.”

“The Tories have become too dependent on handing away our public services on the cheap, and now we are all paying the price,” she said, adding that under Labour “before any service is contracted out, public bodies must show that the work could not be done better in-house”.

She added “We’ll reinstate and strengthen the Two-Tier Code, created by the last Labour government and scrapped by the Tories, to end the scandal of outsourced workers getting second class pay and conditions.”

She also warned that under Liz Truss the Tories “stand for vested interests” and are “coming after the most basic things that we expect – decent work, fair pay, the foundations of a family life”.

“So long as I have a breath in my body, I will defend those rights, and including the right to strike.

“And when in power we will repeal the anti-worker and anti-trade union laws this Conservative Government has enacted. All of it.”