Nick Ferrari Takes On Trade Unionist Over Corbyn’s Worker’s Rights Pledge

11 September 2019, 15:21

Watch Nick Ferrari's heated debate over Corbyn’s worker’s pledge with trade unionist who says “We have the most undemocratic anti-union laws in Western Europe”.

Rob Williams, Socialist Party Industrial Organiser, said the current laws have “a whole plethora of anti-working class measures”, including zero-hour contracts.

He said, “I think what Jeremy Corbyn did yesterday was absolutely correct, he’s trying to appeal to workers across the Brexit divide.”

Jeremy Corbyn promised yesterday to put “power in the hands of the workers”, which would include a ban of unpaid internships and zero-hour contacts.

The caller said that he thought Labour deputy Tom Watson’s actions today “were a disgrace” after the MP said “there was no such thing as a good Brexit deal” which seemed entirely at odds with the Labour leader.

“It’s clear that he doesn’t want a Jeremy Corbyn government; the Blairites don’t want that. They’d rather have a second referendum, I think that’s the totally wrong approach,” William said.

“What we need is a general election to get the Tories out,” the unionist continued, “We can’t rely on any of the Tories on Remain or Leave to negotiate in our interests. We need a general election, we need a new team of negotiators.”

Nick Ferrari made reference to the 1970s when “many of these suggestions or powers were in place there and it didn’t make for a very equitable workplace”.

“In 1979, the differences between rich and poor in this country were at the narrowest in history,” said Williams, “That was a period where 80% of workers covered by collective bargaining, it was a period where trade union membership was up to 13 million.

Nick retorted it was a period where “inflation was at 18% and we’d just come out of a three day week."

“It was also a time where the post-war boom was coming to an end and businesses were trying to make workers pay for a crisis,” argued Williams, “Talk about history repeating itself.”

Nick asked Rob Williams if he wanted to return to a time where people were having to do homework by candlelight due to power cuts. Williams responded that it was a time of no zero-hour contracts along with other issues.

“I think I’m on a zero hour contract,” said Nick, “if I don’t turn up I don’t get paid. I’m very happy with my contract, thank you.” He continued that some people like zero-hour contracts and questioned how Jeremy Corbyn could ban all of them.

“Well there are probably some workers who, due to personal circumstances, want flexible. You can give them that without zero hour contracts. The thing is that it might suit you, but it doesn’t suit the vast majority of workers,” said Williams, “I tell you what, let’s put it to the test: you could put that in a general election.”

Nick questioned: “If the workplace is in such a grim state, how come we have the lowest unemployment levels for 45 years?”

“Well you just said it yourself, didn’t you,” responded Willliams, “we’ve got employment practices like gig economy, zero hour contracts, etc. Yeah, people are in work but we have working people going to food banks in this country.”

Nick said that figures showed yesterday that “wages went up again”.

“That may be one month, perhaps, but let’s be honest, we’ve had a lost decade in worker’s living standards,” argued Williams, “The average worker has lost 10% of his income over the last 10 years. When we bailed out the banks, we didn’t bail out workers, did we?”

Watch the feisty exchange above.