Labour leader Keir Starmer will today (15 September) call on the government to provide targeted support for the aviation sector, as well as a longer-term alternative to furlough.
Speaking at the 2020 TUC conference, Starmer will urge government to come up with a sustainable replacement for the furlough scheme, and ban controversial "firing and re-hiring" practices as part of a “genuine national plan” for jobs and employment.
Starmer is expected to use his speech to call on government to work with businesses, trade unions and Labour to avoid the "scarring effect" of mass unemployment.
This would involve doing away with the “one-size-fits-all” approach of the current furlough scheme in favour of more targeted support, as seen in other parts of the world.
Labour’s proposals include: expanding part-time working and rewarding employers who give people hours rather than cut jobs; providing training and support for those who can’t come back to work full-time; targeting sectors most in need, including aviation and those hit by local lockdowns; and providing greater certainty for workers and businesses.
On replacing the furlough scheme, Starmer is expected to say: “At this moment of national crisis, we should take inspiration from our past, be willing to put party differences aside, and work together in the interest of the country.
“Imagine how powerful it would be if we could form a genuine national plan to protect jobs, create new ones and investing in skills and training? I’m making an open offer to the prime minister: work with us to keep millions of people in work.”
Starmer is also expected to speak out on “firing and rehiring” practices, where firms give employees notice of redundancy while offering them re-employment on new terms, usually with worse pay and conditions, and call for them to be banned.