Wednesday , October 18 2017

UK’s May promises more workers’ rights – PM targets Labour voters

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May (center), speaks to shoppers and stall holders at Abingdon market in Oxfordshire, England on May 15, ahead of the general election on June 8. (AP)

LONDON, May 15, (RTRS): Prime Minister Theresa May will promise on Monday to extend British workers’ rights in the workplace and the boardroom, part of a push to win over traditional working class supporters of the opposition Labour Party in next month’s election. May, appointed prime minister after Britain voted to leave the European Union last June, wants to seal a decisive victory for her Conservative Party in the June 8 election to strengthen her hand in the Brexit talks, but opposition parties said her latest bid was part of a campaign to “fool” working people.

On a visit to southern England, May will commit to keeping EU guarantees on workers’ rights, getting workers represented on company boards and protecting pensions from “irresponsible behaviour by company bosses” — a clear reference to billionaire Philip Green who oversaw the demise of department store BHS. May will also outline plans to tackle pay gaps between different races and ages, introducing a demand for employers to be transparent to correct “an injustice which cannot be allowed in 21st century Britain”. “Our plans … will be the greatest expansion in workers’ rights by any Conservative government in history,” May will say, according to excerpts from her speech. “There is only one leader at this election who will put rights and opportunities for ordinary working families first.” Labour accused May of making “ridiculous claims”. “Theresa May is taking working people for fools,” said Andrew Gwynne, Labour’s campaigns and elections chairman.

“The Tories (the Conservatives) have spent the last seven years prioritising the few, opposing Labour’s proposals to give workers more rights and overseeing wage stagnation which has left people worse off,” Gwynne said. British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservative Party held a 20 point lead over the opposition Labour Party, down a couple of points since last week but still a “largely impregnable” advantage, pollster ICM said on Monday. The Conservatives’ share of voters fell a point to 48 percent, while Labour’s increased a point to 28 percent, according to the poll commissioned by the Guardian newspaper. Support for the Liberal Democrats increased one point to 10 percent, while the UK Independence Party were stuck at 6 percent. “Theresa May can head into (the June 8 election) confident that her poll lead is largely impregnable,” ICM director Martin Boon said.

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