Emma has co-sponsored Bills tabled by Labour MPs Dan Jarvis and Ian Mearns that would raise the minimum wage and end exploitative zero hours contracts to help low-income families and make sure work pays.
Dan and Ian were two of the MPs selected in the Private Members’ Ballot earlier this year who are given the first opportunity to introduce a Bill of their choice. Dan’s proposals would mean the Secretary of State would have to set targets for raising the Minimum Wage over the life of a Parliament, and would give the Low Pay Commission new powers to deal with underpaid work in the economy.
Ian’s Bill would tackle the exploitation of workers on zero hours contracts, many of whom currently work the same shifts as full-time employees but without the same wages or rights, or who are offered only a handful of hours each week but are legally prevented from seeking work elsewhere.
Dan and Ian asked Emma to support their bills because of her strong record campaigning on low pay, and because South Shields is home to many people badly affected by these issues. The level of take home pay has fallen every year under the Coalition, from over £140 to just £112 in 2013. One in four people in Shields also work part-time, and these people in particular would benefit from the changes proposed in these bills.
Emma spoke about the effects of low pay and zero-hours contracts in response to the Chancellor’s Budget statement earlier this year. You can read her speech by clicking here.
The Labour Leader Ed Miliband has also pledged to end the use of exploitative zero hours contracts by giving workers the right to demand a fixed hours contract if they are doing regular work for an employer, and banning ‘all hours’ clauses which require employees to be on call and prevent them seeking other work.
Ed has also called for a Low Pay Commission target to strengthen the Minimum Wage.
“I’m really delighted to be able to sponsor Dan and Ian’s bills, which would do a huge amount to help low-paid people in my constituency. People in Shields have seen their incomes shrink as prices rise, and many tell me that they are now struggling to make ends meet. We need action to deal with the cost of living crisis that is making things so tough for people in Shields, and that is just what these proposals would achieve.”