NDAs? Here’s our disclosure plea to Keir Starmer

COMMENT: There are no pledges from the Labour Party to ban NDAs if elected

Thursday, 7th April

Watch live_ Keir Starmer addresses the Labour Party conference 49-12 screenshot

Sir Keir Starmer

BACK before the war in Ukraine, the pandemic and even Brexit, the #MeToo movement was top of the international news agenda with activists rightly raising hell over sexual harassment in the workplace.

In 2017, non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) fell under the microscope after the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke and there was a furore over the Presidents Club for failing to properly protect female hostesses at a gala dinner.

During that event, workers were regularly subjected to unwanted physical contact, forced to wear “sexy” clothing and made to sign NDAs to prevent them bringing any claims.

The term NDA conjures connotations of corporate sleaze and should-know-better executives covering up the embarrassments of their riches.

It is not the sort of thing most members of the public would expect from Labour, a party that is supposed to be focused on helping struggling people rather than protecting its own individual interests.

Back in 2018, the party’s then leader Jeremy Corbyn did seek to address this. He had said that the next Labour government would legislate to void contractual clauses which stop disclosure of future discrimination, harassment or victimisation.

Not only that, he also said he would force employers to publish anti-harassment policies and outline in detail the steps they were taking to improve conditions for female workers.

He also was due to double the time-frame for victims to bring claims to employment tribunals from three to six months.

Mr Corbyn has also outlined plans to further improve working conditions in the hospitality sector, suggesting policies that would ensure all tips go directly to employees.

Of course that was then. And this is now. So what is Sir Keir Starmer saying about it all now? Not much, so far.

The party has put out a statement saying it takes complaints of sexual harass­ment extremely seriously. A source has suggested the Party does not use them for this purpose. But there are no pledges to ban NDAs if elected.

Are any of Corbyn’s policies acceptable to this new Labour? Is everything he proposed off the table for the “government in waiting”?

The tactics of calmly looking on as the Conservatives implode may be working right now. But there is no guarantee this will be the case when the general election comes.

There were many Labour members who felt Mr Starmer hid his true politics during the leadership contest.

And yet he also does not seem altogether at peace with this overly-centrist persona that has manifested so fervently since he became leader.

Will the real Keir Starmer please stand up?

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