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Sir Kier Starmer’s plans to boost unions could open the door to militant chaos in Labour’s first 100 days

LABOUR have vowed to give trade unions sweeping new powers if they win the General Election — sparking fears Britain could be crippled by even more strikes in a year.

Sir Keir Starmer plans to tear up laws reining in the power of union chiefs within his first 100 days if he becomes PM.

Sir Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner’s plans would give unions new powers
Jeremy Corbyn joins junior doctors on the picket line last month in London[/caption]

It comes as junior doctors announced a fresh five-day strike at the end of this month.

Critics warn the Labour leader’s hard-left blueprint will make things even worse — leaving Britain at the mercy of militant union barons and plunging the country into the dark days of mass strikes once again.

Collective bargaining will make a comeback.

Currently, unions negotiate with individual employers, if they recognise them.

But in sector collective bargaining, pay and conditions are negotiated for all employees across an entire industry.

This could pave the way for strikes to be called across entire sectors and lead to huge pay claims.

Union barons will be allowed to order their members to down tools even if a majority of their members do not want to go on strike.

And new laws bringing in a minimum service on strike days in schools, hospitals and the railways will be binned.

Former Tory Party leader Lord Michael Howard said: “The British public needs to understand the danger of ­Labour’s plans.

“If you think the strikes we have seen in recent months are bad, then brace yourself for a Labour government.

“Unions will have so much power they could grind the whole country to a halt. I remember the chaos of the 1970s when the streets were strewn with rubbish.

“Sir Keir will plunge Britain back into those dark days.”

Sir Keir’s Left-wing “New Deal for Working People” is led by firebrand deputy leader Angela Rayner.

She has shown no hint of watering down the radical plans, making a “cast-iron commitment” to strengthen unions within the first 100 days in government.

It could set her on a ­collision course with Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves, who has been wooing City bods.

A central pillar of Ms Rayner’s plan is to introduce ­sector collective bargaining in adult social care — before rolling it out more broadly.

This could hand unions the power to negotiate pay terms and conditions for the UK’s 1.5million care workers.

But if, as expected, they negotiate big pay increases, it would mean the Government would have to cough up billions of pounds to fund the rises or risk more councils being driven into bankruptcy.

Union chiefs will also be handed greater powers to enter workplaces to recruit and organise members.

If you think the strikes we have seen in recent months are bad, then brace yourself for a Labour government

Lord Michael Howard

A new organisation will be created to enforce the unions’ beefed-up powers. It will have “extensive powers” to inspect workplaces and bring prosecutions.

And Labour wants flexible working to be the default from day one for most workers.

Matt Vickers, deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “The Labour Party will always be in the pockets of the unions. Whatever Sir Keir might claim, his party hasn’t changed since the 1970s when union barons ruled the roost.

“The Conservatives are taking tough action on striking unions while Labour would take us back to square one.”

And former Tory Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said some unions were making it difficult for the current Tory government in the hope that Labour wins the election and caves to their demands.

He added: “There is but one end to all of this which is huge pay demands and massive capitulation by Labour.”

It comes after the new head of the lobbying group Confederation of British Industry called for Labour to soften its laws on worker rights.

Unions remain among Labour’s biggest donors.

Passengers wait at London’s Paddington Station on the last day of a week of disruptions by the train drivers’ union Aslef[/caption]
Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan (centre) on the picket line at Waterloo Station[/caption]

The party accepted nearly £22million in donations, including around £4.5million from trade unions, in the first three-quarters of 2023, according to the Electoral Commission watchdog.

Ms Rayner was previously a Unison rep while working as a carer for Stockport Council.

She became the most senior elected official of Unison in the North West of England.

Senior Labour MPs also receive money from unions for campaigns and local party activity.

‘Cash for campaigns’

Lisa Nandy’s local party gets £2,000 a year from the Communication Workers Union, the register of members’ interests shows.

They also paid for her hotel accommodation at the Labour Party conference at a value of £1,520.

Wes Streeting, Pat McFadden and Peter Kyle also received cash from the Community trade union.

New Labour MPs who won seats in recent by-elections have also received union funding to help their campaigns.

Keir Mather, new MP for Selby and Ainsty, registered £8,000 from Unison, £5,000 from Usdaw and £2,000 from GMB Union.

Similarly, new MP Alistair Strathern received £5,000 from Usdaw and £2,000 from Unison for his election campaign in Mid Beds.

Sir Keir warned big business leaders last week he will press ahead with his plans even if it does not “please” them.

A Labour spokesperson said: “While we offer working people a New Deal, the PM can only offer cheap attacks and expensive gimmicks. It’s a joke for him to lash out when his party has overseen the biggest wave of strikes in 30 years.

“Labour’s plan will help workers and businesses get on and get our economy fit for the modern world. For 14 years, working people have paid the price of Tory failure but Labour’s New Deal will make work pay and tackle the cost of living crisis head on.”

A Labour source added: “Perhaps the Tories should look working people in the eye and explain why they’re once again denying them better pay and rights at work.”

Ms Rayner was out banging the drum for her plan for workers last week. She told Sky News: “Businesses will do better under Labour’s plans.

“And the New Deal for working people will make productivity higher, reduce staff vacancies, staff and time off sick and provide better stability for them. And it will make sure it gives them money in the future.”

They’ll bring back dark days of 1970s

By Lord Howard, Former Tory Party leader

SIR Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves are desperately trying to rebrand Labour as the party of business.

They’ve even embarked on their own “prawn cocktail offensive” — like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown in the 1990s.

But don’t be fooled by their City blitz of swanky breakfast and dinner meetings.

If Labour gets into Downing Street it will be bad news for business and bad news for you, the ordinary punter.

There will only be one winner — the trade unions.

Labour has already revealed its plans to hand them vast new powers.

They will make it easier for unions to strike, bring back collective bargaining and create sweeping so-called workers’ rights.

Union barons will be able to call strikes at the drop of a hat.

Businesses will be put off hiring just when we need to turbo-charge growth.

Workers and families will lose out.

If you think recent strikes are bad, brace yourself for a Labour government.

Unions could grind the whole country to a halt.

I remember the chaos of the 1970s when the streets were strewn with rubbish.

Sir Keir will plunge Britain back to those dark days.

Of course, workers need a fair deal.

But the interference Labour proposes isn’t the way.

It would actually leave them worse off.

It would be naive to think unions — which pay Labour’s bills — wouldn’t demand something in return.

We have been warned!


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