From Liam Byrne <[email protected]>
Subject Workers' Rights
Date September 18, 2019 4:00 PM
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Dear John

Let's begin Labour's task of delivering the biggest ever extension of
workers' rights - here in the West Midlands.

Last week, Jeremy Corbyn set out bold plans for the next Labour government
to deliver the biggest ever extension of workers' rights. And today, we're
setting out how we can start that revolution here in the West Midlands,
rebuilding the moral economy from May next year.

As socialists, we believe that poverty is political. And that's why we
propose political action to end it, by tipping the balance of power in our
economy towards workers.

Poverty pay is a curse on our region. Today, we live in a region where
142,000 people per year - including 51,000 children - now use foodbanks.

Low income is the biggest single reason for food bank use - and one in 4
workers in the West Midlands are paid below the real living wage which is
only £9/ hour - that's 571,000 workers. And the TUC have found that the
average West Midlands worker has lost £9,000 in real earning since 2008.

We have to change this. So our draft Manifesto for Workers Rights proposes:

1. Becoming the UK's first Real Living Wage Region and boosting the
inspectorate that exposes minimum wage offenders. The WMCA must become a
Real Living Wage Employer on day one.

2. A new Mayor's Charter of Good Work to enshrine commitments to end the
gender pay gap, deliver flexible working, and a real voice for employees
and trade unions from the shop floor to the board room.

3. Put UnionLearn and the Workers Education Association at the heart of the
National Education Service which we should found here in our region.

4. Put equalities at the absolute heart of all West Midlands Combined
Authority policy - and rebalance power in the Combined Authority, to
reflect our diverse region.

5. Create an Economic Justice Commission to steer policy with the trade
unions at its heart.

You can read the full draft manifesto here [1].

The cutting edge for this campaign has got to be action to make the West
Midlands the first ever Real Living Wage region.

So, I'm proud to be joining forces with Jack Dromey today as we step up the
campaign ahead of Real Living Wage Week in November.

We're writing to the biggest employers in the region which together employ
nearly 1 million people to ask them to pledge to make a Real Living Wage
Region a reality.

And we're asking good people to sign our letter. You can find it here [2].

Please share far and wide - and let us know what you'd like to add to our


As ever, we'd really welcome feedback! And if you'd like me to pop by and
help lead a discussion in your ward or workplace, just let me know.

Best wishes


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