Tonight, Community and the Fabian Society will launch the Changing Work Centre. This new research centre will look at the changing world of work, how it affects the workforce, and how the left should respond. This will include looking at technological advances, new forms of work, shifts from manufacturing to services and from the public to the private sector, and the role of collectivism and trade unions in the new economy. The Centre will also look ahead, asking how the left can prepare for the labour market of the 2020s.
Yvette Cooper MP will Chair the Changing Work Centre and will deliver the keynote speech at the launch.
In her speech, Yvette Cooper is expected to say:
“Work is changing fast but politics is being left behind. Politicians and public policy makers are analogue in a digital age, task rabbits caught in the headlights.
“There are some amazing new opportunities thanks to fast moving technology – but inequality is widening and new injustice and exploitation is growing.”
She will challenge Labour to develop a response to the changing world of work:
“Laissez faire Tories may be happy to ignore widening inequality, but for Labour the challenges facing working people go to the heart of who we are. Forged in the furnaces of the industrial revolution, our party now needs to come up with new answers for the digital revolution.
“We need new policies and ideas to support good jobs, equality and social justice in the new digital age. That’s what the Changing Work Centre is for.
“Labour must not get drawn into touting yesterday’s solutions to tomorrow’s problems. Things like nationalising power companies don’t do anything to help young people trying to build a new app or older workers stuck in precarious temporary work. Help to climb the skills ladder isn’t enough if someone has taken the middle rungs away as the job market hollows out.
“Right now we aren’t offering enough hope to those who want new opportunities or security to those who feel threatened by change.
“Much as we may argue amongst ourselves about whether we are too right wing or too left wing, the right question is whether our whole labour movement is being left behind.”
Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of Community, said:
“Community is the modern union for a changing world. For centuries trade unions have supported working people, but we recognise that the world of work is changing. Rather than simply celebrating our past success, trade unions should be leading the way in shaping the future of work. The challenges working people face today would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.
“The Changing Work Centre is an exciting partnership between Community and the Fabian Society. We are delighted that our friend Yvette Cooper has agreed to chair the organisation. As the future of work becomes ever more uncertain, we hope that The Changing Work Centre will help lead the debate about how we can deliver an economy that is both prosperous and fair.”