On Tuesday, the Labour Party leader launched into an “up the workers” speech at the Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Brighton, vowing to unleash the biggest “people-powered” campaign ever seen as battle lines for a general election were drawn. Jeremy Corbyn said a Labour Government would create a “Ministry of Employment Rights” to deliver better wages, greater job security and give workers more of a say over how their workplaces are run.
He also promised to create a “Workers Protection Agency” to enforce rights, standards and protections at work and introduce sectoral collective bargaining to set industry-wide minimum standards.
Mr Corbyn told TUC delegates: “The next Labour Government will bring about the biggest extension of rights for workers that our country has ever seen.
“We will put power in the hands of workers.
“Labour is on the side of the people in the real battle against the born-to-rule establishment that Johnson represents.
“We stand for the interests of the many - the overwhelming majority who do the work and pay their taxes - not the few at the top who hoard the wealth and dodge their taxes.”
It's this kind of old fashioned socialist rhetoric that will make UK business petrified at the prospect of being back in a vice-like grip of the trade unions
But his plan has been destroyed by critics, who raged it would hand more power to rich trade union barons, dragging Britain back to the “bad old days of the 1970s” of mass strikes, energy shortages, and crippling inflation and unemployment.
Tim Focas, Director of Financial Services at Westminster think tank Parliament Street, told Express.co.uk: “It's this kind of old fashioned socialist rhetoric that will make UK business petrified at the prospect of being back in a vice-like grip of the trade unions.
“If the 1970s taught us anything, it was that bully boy trade union tactics only serve to contribute to skyrocketing levels of unemployment and dramatically reduced growth.
“It is almost like Labour are deliberately trying to weaken the UK economy with ideas like this. How can one expect a Labour leader who has never worked in business to reflect the reality of modern day enterprise?”
James Roberts, Political Director at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, warned handing union barons at the TUC would have a significant impact on taxpayers who would already be crippled by debt under a Labour Government.
He told this website: “Corbyn’s claim to speak for taxpayers simply doesn’t stand up. This old-school socialist doctrine pits employees against entrepreneurs, students against small businesses and trade unions against taxpayers.
“It would hand yet more power to the well paid union barons at the TUC, and give them free reign to drag Britain back to the bad old days of the 1970s.”
Matthew Lesh, Head of Research at the Adam Smith Institute think tank, raged the “unwelcome flashback” from Mr Corbyn proves he will never be “on the side of the British people”.
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He warned Labour would “hurt” actual workers and not empower them, telling Express.co.uk: “Jeremy Corbyn is an unwelcome flashback to a bygone era of mass strikes, energy shortages, and crippling inflation and unemployment. The politics of class warfare has never worked to lift living standards.
“Has Jeremy Corbyn ever seen a tax he doesn’t want to raise or a successful business he doesn’t want to criticise and cripple? I think not.
“Labour won’t empower workers, they will make our workplaces inflexible, stopping us from working when and how we want. Labour policies will hurt actual workers.”
James Heywood, Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Studies, warned Mr Corbyn “sees businesses as the enemies of working people and public good”.
He said: “Labour claim they want to bring people together.
"But the reality is they are seeking to revive the atmosphere of resentment and conflict which characterised employer-worker relations in the 1970s to legitimise moves such as their planned £300billion share raid on UK plc.”
Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial and Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs think tank, warned Mr Corbyn has “learnt nothing from the past” where Governments under previous Labour leaders Harold Wilson and James Callaghan were “plagued by the destructive power of trade unions”.
He warned the plan will likely give trade union bosses more power, rubbishing Mr Corbyn’s comment that Labour “stand for the interests of the many”.
Professor Shackleton told Express.co.uk: “New Labour made no attempt to reverse the industrial relations legislation of the Thatcher and Major years because it recognised that it made sensible changes.
“Labour Governments under Wilson and Callaghan had been plagued by the destructive power of trade unions.
"Mr Corbyn, however, had never been reconciled to the diminished power of unions.
“In this ‘back to the future’ speech, he indicated he has learnt nothing from the past. Without restrictions on the power to call a strike we could well be back to the massive problems of the 1960s and 1970s.”