In a bid to win over Labour voters, Theresa May has announced the Conservatives’ biggest expansion to worker’s rights.
As well as promising to retain all workers’ rights currently guaranteed by the UK’s membership of the European Union, May pledged to introduced additonal benefits, including one-year unpaid statutory leave for those seeking to care for relatives, and statutory leave for parents who have suffered the death of a child.
May also announced that the national living wage—which only applies to workers 25 or over—would rise in line with average earnings until 2022.
This is in direct contrast to the 2015 budget which explicitly promised a living wage of £9 by 2020.
Speaking to Emily Maitlis for Newsnight, Work and Pensions Secretary Damien Green refused to confirm whether or not the government would deliver on its promise to bring the living wage up to £9 by 2020.
“You’ve got Labour saying £10 an hour, a nice, fat round sum, and you’ve got Conservatives saying we’re not quite sure, it depends on the median average raise and the rate at which it goes up,” Maitlis commented. “That’s a fairly stark choice when it comes to workers’ rights.”
“We’ve got more people in work than ever before,” Green responded. The unemployment rate currently stands at 4.7%, the lowest it has been since 1975. It fell to its lowest in 1973, at 3.4%.
Labour supporters and union members appear to be taking May’s promises with a pinch of salt, with the GMB union saying its members will “believe it when they see it.”
In light of the party’s refusal to confirm whether or not it would stand by its previous promises, it takes no leap of imagination to see why many remain skeptical about how their newest promises will pan out should they remain in power on June 9th.