A LABOUR government must not water down its pledges on workers' rights but deliver “in full, without equivocation”, Scotland’s leading trade unionist has said.

Roz Foyer, the general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), spoke out after reports suggested that Labour leader Keir Starmer was looking to weaken a promised package of workers’ rights.

Starmer’s party, and the Scottish Labour group, have repeatedly pledged a “New Deal for Working People” should they take power at Westminster after the next General Election.

Promises included a ban on zero-hours contracts and to “introduce parental leave and sick pay from day one”.

Speaking at the UK party’s conference in October last year, deputy leader Angela Rayner pledged to “personally” implement the plans within 100 days of taking office.

She told Labour delegates: “I’ve heard some rumours that we’ll be watering down our New Deal For Working People. Be in no doubt – not with Keir and I at the helm.”

READ MORE: 'F**k you to the unions': Scottish Labour fury as workers' rights plans watered down

However, last week, the Financial Times quoted senior Labour officials as saying they would not implement the proposals within 100 days – but would instead only table draft legislation within that time period.

Further, zero-hours contracts will not be completely banned and parental leave will not be brought in “from day one”, but instead only consulted on in the first year of a Labour government, the FT reported.

Foyer, whose STUC represents more than half a million trade union members, said Labour should not water down its proposals.

She told the Sunday National: “Labour’s New Deal for Working People is a real opportunity to shift the balance of power in favour of workers, not the bosses.

“After nearly 15 years of Tory government, with attack after attack on unions, it’s incumbent on the political party workers created – the party of labour – to tip the scales in our favour.

“We can’t countenance, nor permit, any watering down of the proposals that we were promised.

“It’s time for members of the Labour leadership to put the foot on the gas and deliver the deal in full without equivocation.

“If they value the backing of workers and, more importantly, their votes, delivering a new deal for workers will be at the top of the policy priority list once in government.”

Labour have previously come under fire from other trade union leaders over their reported plans to weaken their pledges on workers’ rights.

Sharon Graham (below), the general secretary of Unite the Union, said: “If Labour do not explicitly recommit to what they have already pledged, namely that the New Deal for Working People will be delivered in full within the first 100 days of office, then a red line will be crossed.”

The National:

A spokesperson for Unison, the UK’s biggest trade union, said: “Consolidating the promised measures is fine, but any watering-down of the contents won’t be.”

At the trade union Usdaw’s conference earlier in the week, Starmer insisted that Labour were not going to weaken their proposed New Deal for Working People.

“We will embark on the biggest levelling-up of worker rights this country has seen for a generation,” he told the conference.

Starmer added: “We’ve got the draft legislation, it’s ready to go, and I look forward to that moment when Angela Rayner stands at the despatch box to introduce the legislation on the new deal that this movement so desperately needed and fought for for so many years.”

Scottish Green MSP Maggie Chapman called for Scottish Labour to “stand with us and with the STUC in demanding the full devolution of employment law, so that we can do more to deliver the kind of rights and future that every worker deserves”.

READ MORE: Full devolution of employment 'natural next step', top think tank concludes

She went on: "Sir Keir Starmer has abandoned almost every promise and pledge he's ever made. If he goes back on workers' rights then many will wonder what the Labour Party actually stand for.

"Worker's rights are at the heart of any fair society. Everyone deserves a fair wage and dignity and respect at work. Previous Labour governments have talked a good game but failed to deliver.”

A Labour spokesperson told the Sunday National: “The New Deal will be a core part of Labour’s offer to the country and we will be campaigning on this ahead of the General Election.

“Labour’s New Deal for Working People was agreed at the party’s National Policy Forum last summer building upon our Green Paper.

“Our commitments to bring forward legislation to Parliament within 100 days to deliver the New Deal and to consult widely on implementation have not changed.”