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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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Labour in Shambles over Workers' Vote

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Labour have found themselves in a shambles following a vote on workers’ rights which saw a number of backbenchers rebel against the party, and a fierce backlash from supporters on social media.

Labour abstained on a vote which allowed the UK Government to speed a retroactive law through parliament that will overturn the outcome of a court of appeal judgement and ensure the government no longer has to pay £130m in benefit rebates to about a quarter of a million jobseekers.

Dr Eilidh Whiteford, the SNP Work and Pensions spokesperson commented :

“Labour have found themselves in a shambles over this vote- they have sold out on their founding principles of protecting workers’ rights. The party could not even convince their MPs their position was a good idea, and many rebelled. Quite understandably, they are facing a fierce backlash from supporters.

“A very simple principle underpins what we have been debating. If someone works a shift for an employer, they deserve a fair day’s pay for their time and effort. There are no circumstances in which it’s OK not to pay employees, or to pay them a derisory sum below the legal Minimum Wage for the work they undertake. There are many who will feel that the Government’s Back to Work Schemes fall some way short of this principle – but the critical point is that the courts have found aspects of the regulations and sanctions regime attached to the schemes to be unlawful.

“Labour have allowed the Tories to effectively be 'off the hook'. That is simply astonishing, and leaves Labour with many questions to answer.

“The real solution – the only workable solution - is to drive growth and create demand in the economy. That’s the way to create jobs and get people into work. Only with a Yes vote in 2014 can we ensure that those key aims are met and we avoid the sorry situation of Tory and Labour assaults on the working poor.”

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