Labour’s pledge on flexible working skewered by Tory – ‘Still talking to Islington!’

Angela Rayner on concerns over vaccine passport ‘bureaucracy’

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The deputy leader of the Labour Party, and Shadow Secretary of State for the Future of Work, unveiled the party’s new proposals for flexible working on Tuesday. However, Ben Obese-Jecty, Chairman of Hornsey & Wood Green Conservative Association, said the plans were too focused on London.

Mr Obese-Jecty, also a former Tory candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington during the 2019 General Election, pointed to data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) to show Mrs Rayner was “still talking to Islington”.

ONS figures from April 2020, during the UK’s first coronavirus lockdown, said 46.6 percent of workers “did some work at home”.

The data also showed London had the highest amount of home-workers at 57.2 percent, 10.6 points higher than the national average.

Mr Obese-Jecty said the figures showed Labour’s new policy was proof it was too focused on London to appeal to voters outside the capitol.

READ MORE: Welsh Labour lash out at, then follow PM’s travel plans

Writing in The Telegraph, Mr Obese-Jecty skewered Ms Rayner and the Labour Party’s proposals.

He said: “It is surely no coincidence therefore that Labour has pushed this proposal as the focus of its campaign.

“Their myopic inclination to appeal only to London’s middle-classes shows a contempt for those who not only cannot take advantage of the policy but are in fact likely to be impacted negatively by it.

“The focus upon working from home as the headline policy shows where Labour believes its target demographic to be.

“Despite their period of reflection following the 2019 election defeat that focus does not appear to be upon the traditionally Labour seats that were lost.”

He highlighted “for every business that has embraced remote teams, there is another that has struggled to grow without the cohesion that proximity creates”.

Mr Obese-Jecty also accused Labour of going against their campaign to “make Britain the best place to work” after the party made a third of its permanent employees redundant.

Labour has also quietly recruited staff on insecure temporary contracts with worse employment conditions to replace those made redundant.

The moves followed reports the party’s financial reserves were down to only one months payroll after losing thousands of members and settling antisemitism cases, according to LabourList.

One senior Labour MP told The Independent the party was acting like “the worst of the very worst employers” and said leader Keir Starmer should “get a grip” on his officials.

They said: “To learn that our party are now using what can only be described as ‘fire and rehire tactics’ appals me.

“It’s everything we as a party should be aggressively opposing.”

Mr Obese-Jecty also said in his article: “A toxic working environment by any standards.”

On Tuesday, Ms Rayner said the Labour Party would legislate to make flexible working the default – including working from home or around the school-run – so that “work fits around people’s lives instead of dictating their lives”.

She said: “Labour will make flexible working a force for good so that everyone is able to enjoy the benefits of flexible working, from a better work-life balance to less time commuting and more time with their family.

“The new normal after this pandemic must mean a new deal for all working people based on flexibility, security and strengthened rights at work.”

The new policy is the latest element of Labour’s “new deal for working people” campaign, as Mr Starmer seeks to focus on bread-and-butter issues.

It comes as recent polling has showed the Conservatives lead over Labour begin to slip, sounding alarms for Boris Johnson.

Deltapoll’s most recent survey had the Tories in the lead at 42 percent support, but Labour only behind by five points at 37 percent.

The survey, which sampled 1,590 people from July 23 to July 26, shows a steady drop in support for the Tories.

Deltapoll’s June 17 to June 20 poll had the Tories with a six point lead, and it’s June 10 to June 12 poll saw the Government with a 12 point lead.

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