Owen Smith pledges to outlaw 'bogus self-employment'

Owen Smith launches workers' manifesto

Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith has promised to outlaw "bogus self-employment" if he wins power, as part of a "revolution in workers' rights".

Launching a 25-point Manifesto for Fairness at Work, Mr Smith also vowed to repeal David Cameron's Trade Union Act, end public sector pay freezes, strengthen union recognition rights and guarantee workers employment rights from their first day in a new job.

He also called for the creation of wage councils to cover more than nine million workers in hospitality, retail and social care.

The Pontypridd MP, who is challenging Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership in a postal ballot ending on September 24, said: "At the core of my radical vision for Labour's future is a commitment to making tackling inequality the focus of everything our party does.

"This simply can't be achieved without fairness in the workplace and to make this a reality we need nothing short of a revolution in workers' rights. Delivering that requires more than just rhetoric, it needs a credible plan.

"That is why today I am setting out a manifesto for fairness at work which includes radical yet deliverable proposals to empower workers and trade unions. Giving working people a voice, strengthening collective bargaining, tackling exploitation and delivering greater equality.

"These measures are part of my plan to take Britain from the shameful position of having some of the worst workplace protections in Europe to having workers' rights that are the envy of the world."

With the growth of the so-called "gig economy", unions and campaigners have increasingly voiced concerns about workers being registered as self-employed when they should have staff status.

This can mean workers missing out on £1,000 a year or more in sick pay and holiday pay, without getting the flexibility and control over their own working hours traditionally enjoyed by the self-employed. Unscrupulous bosses can use the status to avoid paying the minimum wage, pension contributions and employers' national insurance.

In a report last year, Citizens Advice estimated that one in 10 of those who said they were working for themselves could be wrongly treated as self-employed, costing the Government up to £314 million a year in lost tax and national insurance contributions.

Mr Smith said he would outlaw the practice by enhancing the definition of a "worker" in employment law.

Also included in Mr Smith's manifesto were:

:: Changes to the law to remove "unfair obstacles" to industrial action

:: Electronic balloting to boost turnout in strike votes

:: New equal pay legislation to close the gender pay gap

:: Abolition of fees for employment tribunals

:: Race equality plans for companies over a certain size

:: A ban on zero-hours contracts

:: Tougher enforcement of national living wage

:: Worker representation on all remuneration committees