Labour 'would take the country back to the 1970s' with trade union membership in every workplace

Kate McCann
John McDonnell - Bloomberg

Labour would take the UK back to the 1970s if elected in June, John McDonnell has suggested, as the party revealed it would enforce the right to trade union membership in every workplace across the country. 

The shadow chancellor called for a return to collective bargaining in the workplace and announced plans to extend the policy so that pay deals are set on an industry-wide basis in the biggest shift in worker's rights for over 30 years. 

It came as Jeremy Corbyn vowed to find £3 billion to plug the shortfall in school funding - but declined to specify how he would raise the cash.

Jeremy Corbyn Credit: Getty

Speaking at the National Association of Headteachers (NAHT) conference in Shropshire, he told delegates that the Labour party is “brave enough” to “fully reverse” the £3 billion of savings that schools need to make by 2019/20, according to the National Audit Office.

Mr Corbyn - who was wearing a Keir Hardy Society badge with the slogan “Socialism Peace Equality” - hinted that he would use a rise on corporation tax to fund his education policies, but said that details will be "revealed in our manifesto".

It would be the 13th time the party has pledged to spend money raised from increasing the rate of corporation tax after previously promising to use it to scrap tuition fees and a number of other ideas.

Mr Corbyn has promised more investment in schools Credit: PA

Graham Brady MP, chair of the 1922 committee of backbench Conservative MPs, said that this is “yet another unfunded pledge from Jeremy Corbyn which will bring no real comfort to anyone”.

He added: “We need strong stable government delivering continued economic growth  if we are to arrive at a genuine fair funding arrangement for schools for the future.”

Earlier in the day Mr McDonnell vowed to overhaul worker's rights as part of Labour's key pledge to voters ahead of the election in June.

Speaking to ITV's Robert Peston he said: "What’s happened in this country over the last 20 odd years is collective bargaining has declined, 80 per cent of our workforce used to be held by collective bargaining, it stands at about 20 per cent now and that’s eroded wages overall."

It is part of a plan to boost worker's rights which also includes a ban on zero hours contracts, ensuring all workers are members of a union and banning unpaid internships.

Trade union leader Len McCluskey and Jeremy Corbyn Credit: David Dyson

Andrew Percy Minister for the Northern Powerhouse, said: "Jeremy Corbyn would hand more power to his union pay-masters if he and his coalition of chaos were ever let near the keys to Downing Street. 

"The electorate face a clear choice in this election, building upon economic progress under the strong and stable leadership of Theresa May, or more strike disruption and union largesse under a Labour/Lib DemSNP coalition."

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