Johnson under pressure from voters to deliver on workers’ rights, poll finds

By agency reporter
December 24, 2019

Boris Johnson is under pressure from voters to protect and enhance workers’ rights, according to a new post-election poll published by the TUC.

The poll of 2,975 adults reveals that the vast majority of 2019 election voters – including most of those who switched to the Conservatives from Labour – want the government to:

  • Protect and enhance workers’ rights guaranteed by the EU
  • Give new rights to workers in the gig economy
  • Ban zero-hours contracts
  • Properly fund public services, even if that means higher taxes
  • Introduce a £10 minimum wage immediately
  • Raise taxes for those earning £80,000 and above

Nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) of voters say the government must protect and enhance current workplace rights guaranteed by the EU, like paid holidays and rights for temporary and agency workers.

This is supported by two-thirds (65 per cent) of people who voted Conservative in 2019, and by eight in 10 (79 per cent) of those who switched from Labour to the Conservatives.

The vast majority of voters (71 per cent) also want new rights for gig economy workers, including the majority (65 per cent) of Conservative voters and those who moved from Labour to the Conservatives during the election (78 per cent).

There is also widespread public support for banning zero-hours contracts (66 per cent) and having union rights in every workplace (63 per cent).

The poll reveals that the NHS (63 per cent) was the most important issue for voters during the 2019 election, followed by Brexit (55 per cent) and the economy (29 per cent).

Eight in 10 (82 per cent) voters support increasing funding for the NHS by 4.3 per cent a year. And six in 10 (59 per cent) say they would be willing to pay higher taxes to fund public services properly, compared to three in 10 (31 per cent) who wouldn’t.

Even among Conservative voters (56 per cent) there is majority support for raising taxation to maintain decent public services.

There is overwhelming public support (68 per cent) for an immediate increase to the minimum wage of £10 an hour, especially among those who switched from Labour to the Conservatives (76 per cent).

Most voters (68 per cent) – including the majority of those who voted Conservative (56 per cent) – think taxes should be increased for those earning over £80,000 a year.

Commenting on the poll TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “We know many in Boris Johnson’s cabinet who want to drive down labour standards. But there is little appetite in Britain for de-regulation and further tax cuts for the rich –including among Conservative voters.

“The prime minister has no more excuses. Voters expect him to protect and strengthen rights at work. And they want him to get on with investing in our public services and boosting wages.”

GQR carried out the poll for the TUC. Vice President Peter McLeod said: “The Conservatives won voters from Labour and elsewhere with reassurances that they would protect workers’ rights, raise the minimum wage and boost funding for the NHS and schools.

“We know people had doubts about Boris Johnson’s integrity, and if the Conservatives fail to keep their promises a lot of those gains will be at risk.”

* Trades Union Congress


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