Starmer defends New Deal ‘rebrand’ after union backlash

Sir Keir Starmer has defended Labour’s decision to rebrand its package of workers’ rights pledges following a backlash from one of the UK’s biggest trade unions. The party leader denied he was watering down policies on areas like zero-hours contracts, parental leave and sick pay after Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said the plans had “more holes than Swiss cheese”. It comes after the latest flare-up in a row over Labour’s New Deal for Working People, following reports it would go through a formal consultation process with businesses – potentially delaying or toning down the pledges. On Friday, Labour rebranded the New Deal as “Labour’s plan to make work pay”. During a visit to Staffordshire on Saturday, Sir Keir told the BBC: “We have come to an agreement with the trade unions on the new deal for working people. “There’s been no watering down. This is the most significant set of protections for a generation. “It’s also something which I think employers and good businesses would say, ‘looking at the detail of it, this is what we’re doing in good businesses’.” Elements of the deal include a “right to switch off”, a proposed ban on zero hours contracts and stronger employment rights...

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