When work is such a significant part of our lives, it’s important that employee rights are protected. Unfortunately, all aspects of employment law are reserved to the UK Tory Government which has is clearly not on the side of workers.

This is shown by legislative decisions to erode workers’ rights, notably via the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act which limits the ability of public sector workers to engage in meaningful industrial action.

And the Retained European Union Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 which enables the UK Government to discard EU employment law.

Labour Party Leader, Sir Keir Starmer, ever cautious as to the perceived public mood rather than from principle, ordered his own MPs not join picket lines when workers strike and sacked those MPs who refused to comply. 

In Scotland, Labour’s own record is also poor. For years, thousands of women employed by Glasgow City Council were victims of discrimination, as females received far less pay than males in the same or similar jobs.

The then Labour-run council scandalously spent over £2 million of taxpayers’ money on legal fees to fight equal pay.

Had the SNP not won control of Glasgow in 2017, Labour would have continued using the courts to deny female employees the justice and wages they deserved. Under the SNP, over 19,000 women collectively received £770 million in back pay they had long been owed.

SNP MP Stewart McDonald has brought forward a Private Members Bill - the Unpaid Trial Work Periods (Prohibition) Bill - which I co-sponsored, to ban the unfair practice of unpaid work trials whereby unscrupulous businesses insist employees undertake work shifts without pay with no guarantee of subsequent employment.

Labour has not committed to banning unpaid work trials and prefers that the Tories oversee employment law, rather than devolve it. However, given their frequent policy U-turns, what would such commitments be worth anyway?

SNP MP Gavin Newlands brought forward the Employment (Dismissal and Re-Employment) Bill to outlaw fire and re-hire tactics used by some employers to reduce the terms and conditions of their employees. Labour MPs did not support the Bill.

In contrast, the Scottish Government in 2015 became the first government in the UK to pay at least the real Living Wage and be accredited as a Living Hours employer, providing secure contracts and flexible hours.

It has long championed fair work through employment practices and policies, such as specifying that organisations applying for public sector grants must pay at least the real Living Wage and ensure staff have a say in the workplace.

The Scottish Government has led the way by constructively engaging with workers and, as a result, Scotland is the only UK nation to avert NHS strikes.

Westminster does not, and will not, safeguard workers’ rights, regardless of whether Labour or the Tories occupy Downing Street. 

The only party to consistently demonstrate its commitment to improving employee rights is the SNP, which is why employment law should be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, a beacon for fair working practices across the UK.