Jeremy Miles outlines plans to help support workers flourish at work
Welsh Labour leadership candidate Jeremy Miles has set out plans to deliver an ambitious package of measures to help support workers flourish at work.
The education minister says he will help support trades unions recruit more members, drive up union recognition and collective bargaining in the private sector, restore funding to the Wales Union Learning Fund, and appoint a minister for work in the Welsh Government.
Mr Miles said that trades unions can help increase the share of Wales’ national income that goes to the workforce, and can improve the quality of working life – particularly those on the lowest wages.
He says that if elected Welsh Labour Leader and First Minister of Wales, he will help unions to increase membership by supporting measures to recruit young members and workers in the gig economy.
To tackle low membership rates in large parts of Wales’ private sector, he is proposing to reward businesses which recognise unions – which will help create a mutually beneficial culture of social partnership across our economy.
He promises to use the Welsh Government’s leverage to develop an economy in which recognising unions and collective bargaining is the norm – by using public spending to drive up trade union access.
Mr Miles says he will restore funding for the Wales Union Learning Fund as soon as possible, and work with social partners to expand the role of union-led learning in skills policy.
He has also committed to expanding Personal Learning Accounts in digital and net zero sectors for reskilling at work, and working with social partners to ensure these opportunities are used in transition agreements.
He’s pledged to appoint a Minister for Work in the Welsh Government, to bring together our cross- government efforts to embed fair work policies across government.
Jeremy Miles said: “The Trades Unions established the Labour party to be the voice of working people in Parliament. Since then, Labour governments in the UK and in Wales have introduced transformational policies that have improved workers’ lives for the better. We must now build on the good work we have done so far. And under my leadership, we will do that and go on to do even more.
“Strong trade unions are critical for a healthy economy and a fair labour market. I’m delighted that so many grassroots trade unionists across Wales are backing my campaign to become the next Welsh Labour Leader and First Minister of Wales.
“If I’m elected, I will put the collective might of our party and our government firmly behind measures to encourage more workers to benefit from trade union membership. And by the end of this decade, I want to see a clear step change in the percentage of workers whose pay, terms and conditions are set by collective bargaining in the private and voluntary sectors.
“The government I lead will help unions in Wales to adapt to the challenges and opportunities facing workers in the digital and technological revolution that is upon us – ensuring nobody is held back or left behind as we transition to a new green economy.
“I’m also pleased to endorse the calls by UNISON, GMB, Napo, PCS, and UCU for the devolution of probation and youth justice to the Senedd. But I want to go further. I am committed to seeing the devolution of responsibility for policing, justice, the Crown Estate and administration of benefits devolved to Wales.”
Other priorities include:
- Embed the Social Partnership Act and use ethical procurement and all other government levers to create more Fair Work in Wales.
- Encourage flexibility and care by employers for women experiencing menopause.
Include trade union representation on Welsh Government economic advisory bodies, including the new National Economic Council.
- Support organising for trade unions at a Wales level, through a Union Reach Fund, with an explicit aim to raise collective bargaining rates in sectors with low union membership, and set targets for collective bargaining reach and union density in both public and private sectors.
- Engage constructively with unions and others in relation to the recommendations in the Wales TUC report The Future of Work and Devolution in Wales.
Instigate a review of the Agricultural Advisory Panel, to strengthen its ability to increase wage levels for our lowest paid workers.
Jeremy Miles has received the support of three Labour-affiliated Unions – Aslef, the Musicians’ Union and the National Union of Mineworkers – in his bid to become the next Welsh Labour Leader.
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