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Whistleblowing manifesto commitments

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As momentum grows ahead of the General Election we’ve done the hard work – so you don’t have to – to pick out the major parties’ key policies and commitments relating to whistleblowing.  While tax, the NHS, and immigration may have dominated the mainstream coverage, at Protect we have a laser-focus on what the parties are saying about whistleblowing and the promises they’re making.

Read on for an overview of what’s being offered.

The Conservatives have pledged to carefully consider the implications of the review of the whistleblowing framework for the NHS and consult on a disbarring regime for NHS managers.

They have also promised to improve standards in councils by making their performance more transparent through the Office for Local Government.

Labour say they will strengthen the rights and protections available to whistleblowers in the workplace, including on sexual harassment.

They are  promising to implement their ‘Plan to Make Work Pay: Delivering a New Deal for Working People’ in full within their first 100 days in power (if they win the election). This Plan bans exploitative zero hours contracts, bans fire and rehire, and introduces basic rights from day one (including protection from unfair dismissal).

Labour is also seeking to strengthen the collective voice of workers, including through their trade unions, and create a Single Enforcement Body to ensure employment rights are upheld.

Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats have pledged to protect whistleblowers by establishing a new Office of the Whistleblower, creating new legal protections, and promoting greater public awareness of their rights. An Office of the Whistleblower Private Members Bill had been working its way through the house (although had only reached a very early stage) but had fallen at the wayside with the calling of the election.

They also plan to pass a comprehensive ‘Anti-SLAPP Law’ to provide robust protection for free speech, whistleblowers and media scrutiny against Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation. Again, an Anti-SLAPPs Private Members Bill, brought by the out-going Labour MP Wayne David aiming to end intimidatory SLAPPs lawsuits, was progressing through Parliament but has been cut short due to the election.

While the Green’s manifesto doesn’t profile any specific commitments on whistleblowing, it does include promises relating to employment rights more generally. This includes the implementation of equal employment rights for all workers from their first day of employment, including those working in the ‘gig economy’ and on zero-hours contracts.

Plaid Cymru
Plaid Cymru also does not include anything in their manifesto relating directly to whistleblowing.

However, they pledge to implement sweeping employment protections. This includes legislation to tackle insecure work, provide paid bereavement and miscarriage leave as ‘day one employment rights’, outlaw fire and re-hire tactics, abolish compulsory zero-hours contracts, establish the right to ‘disconnect’ (a right not to be routinely contacted about work outside normal working hours).

They would also reverse existing anti-strike legislation and would support the devolution of employment law to Wales.

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