BFAWU Conference 2024 Ministers must tackle ‘disgusting’ lack of employment rights for all workers from day one of contract, say food workers
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BFAWU Conference 2024 Ministers must tackle ‘disgusting’ lack of employment rights for all workers from day one of contract, say food workers

in Staffordshire

MINISTERS must tackle the “disgusting” lack of employment rights for all workers from day one of their contract, food workers said yesterday.

Delegates gathered in Staffordshire for the BFAWU’s annual conference unanimously supported a motion asking: “If an employer expects you to work from day one, why then shouldn’t we have employment rights from day one?”

The call came after many unions accused Labor of watering down the New Deal for Working People, which the party had promised to introduce within 100 days if it won the July 4 general election.

The package, originally drawn up by former shadow employment rights secretary Andy McDonald before his dramatic resignation from Sir Keir Starmer’s first team in 2021, included commitments to introduce single ’employee’ status from day one and to ban dismissals and re-employment and zero-hour contracts.

But last month the Unite union warned the package was now “completely unrecognizable” from the original version and amounted to little more than a “bad bosses charter”.

BFAWU president Ian Hodson, whose union voted overwhelmingly to withdraw from the Labor Party in 2021, told delegates at Stone: “Why shouldn’t you be entitled to employment rights on the same day you start work?

“There is no reason why health and safety shouldn’t apply from day one. There is no reason why you shouldn’t have an employment contract from day one.”

He warned employers that the union would not only campaign on the issue but also “support our members if they experience any discrimination, either legally or through the use of the power of our members in branches.

“We, as working people, will support them (colleagues) because it is important that we are prepared to take action to support our demands. This is what our members want.”

Delegate Robbie McCarthy backed the call, warning that some of his seasonal colleagues who are forced to work on temporary contracts during the summer months are missing out on the same rights enjoyed by others.

He said: “It’s disgusting. They should be valued, welcomed and treated like the rest of us. These are working-class people.”

To enthusiastic applause, he added, “You have to stand with them and get this passed into law.”