Sir Keir Starmer accused of 'hypocrisy' after party conference workers offered less than £10 an hour

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Keir Starmer - Stefan Rousseau/PA
Keir Starmer - Stefan Rousseau/PA

Sir Keir Starmer has been accused of “hypocrisy” after it emerged staff will be working at Labour’s party conference for less than £10 an hour, despite its campaign for the minimum wage to be raised.

The Labour leader has pledged to raise the minimum wage to £10 per hour if he becomes Prime Minister after the next election.

But a job advertisement for conference stewards, posted by an agency on behalf of the conference venue, offers to pay workers £9.75 per hour and asks them to work a 12-hour day.

The listing asks for “reliable and committed applicants who genuinely want to be involved in this year’s annual conference”, and who have “great communication skills and a good work ethic”.

But supporters of Sir Keir’s party will find they are paid less than Labour believes any worker should be for their time at the conference, which begins on Saturday.

Responsibilities for the staff include “directing, guiding and being a smiley, friendly and welcoming face to those attending”.

The advertisement also requests that applicants undergo a background check.

It comes after a similar fiasco in 2018, in which it emerged conference staff were employed on zero-hours contracts, despite the party’s campaign to abolish them.

One employee told The Telegraph at the time: “I’m on a zero hours contract. We all are. I get paid on a weekly basis and I don’t find out until the last moment until I’m going to get work.”

Labour branded merchandise at the conference was manufactured abroad, despite the party’s “Build it in Britain” policy.

Richard Holden, a Tory MP, said: “This is utter hypocrisy from Labour. As usual, they demand one thing in public but can’t even practise what they preach behind closed doors with their own staff.”

Last week Sir Keir referenced his father’s time in a tool making factory as his motivation for raising wages.

“When I think about a new deal for workers I think of my Dad,” he said.

“Going to work at 8 in the morning, home for tea at 5, back to work 6 till 10 o’clock at night, 5 days a week. He did that to provide for our family.

“So the starting point is a job to raise a family on. That means a real living wage.

“Labour would immediately increase the minimum wage to at least £10 an hour.”

The Telegraph understands another agency employing staff for Labour conference on behalf of the party pays its workers more than £10 per hour.

But the party has no control over the wages set by an agency employed by the conference venue, the Brighton Centre.

The Labour Party declined to comment.

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