Jeremy Corbyn addresses tens of thousands at march urging ‘new deal’ for workers

People demonstrate during a TUC rally in central London (Gareth Fuller/PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

Jeremy Corbyn has joined tens of thousands of people from across the UK in a demonstration calling for a “new deal” for workers and public services.

The Labour leader was one of six speakers to address the crowd of union members, workers, families' peace campaigners and politicians in what was the biggest demonstration for years.

The protest, organised by the TUC, called for a higher minimum wage, a ban on zero-hours contracts and more funding for the NHS, education and other public services.

Mr Corbyn won huge applause from the crowds in London's Hyde Park when he pledged the next Labour government would launch a ministry to guarantee workers' rights.

Mr Corbyn promised to "take rail mail and water back into public ownership" and warned tax dodgers that a "Labour government is coming after you. We will tax properly".

He added: "This demonstration today is about workers rights, it is about collective endeavour but above all, it's a declaration that we're around to campaign as long as it takes, to bring about that social justice and that decency in society."

Workers involved in current disputes including those at restaurant chains TGI Fridays and McDonald’s joined the march, along with nurses, ambulance crews, postmen, teachers, civil servants and cleaners.

The general secretary of Unite the Union warned off right wing labour politicians, telling them to do a "Tristram Hunt and go and find another cushy job to do" if they can't support working people.

Len McCluskey said: "I don't like attacking rightwing Labour MPs but ... start fighting for the working people and if you can't do that, do a 'Tristram Hunt' and go and find another cushy job to do."

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said before the march started that workers have had enough of low pay, poor quality jobs and constant cuts to public services.

She added: “There is a new mood in the country. People have been very patient but they are now demanding a new deal.”

Dave Ward, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said it was the most important demonstration for 50 years.

He said: “This is the start of a serious challenge for a new deal for all workers.

People dressed as Theresa May Bots during the TUC rally. Credit: PA

“The world of work has become a pressurised environment, based on a flexible labour market and bogus self-employment.”

To mark the event, the TUC published data which it said showed that workers were suffering the longest squeeze on wages in modern history.

A decade on from the financial crisis, real wages are worth £24 a week less than in 2008 and are not forecast to return to pre-crash levels until 2025, said the union organisation.

The TUC said the current stretch of wage stagnation was the worst for 200 years.

By 2025 the average worker will have lost out by around £18,500 in real earnings, it was estimated.