Green Party’s manifesto: What HR needs to know

The party promised to introduce a minimum wage of £15 an hour for all workers

The Green Party has released its manifesto, ahead of next month’s general election, focusing on environmental commitments, union support and wage changes.

Environmental commitments

The Green Party wants the UK to achieve net zero more than a decade before 2050, arguing that the transition to a green economy “must not leave anyone stranded without jobs, as carbon-intensive industries shut down”.

As well as a £120 per tonne carbon tax on businesses “to make polluters pay”, the Greens have pledged an investment of £4 billion a year in skills and retraining, to prepare workers for the transition.

Additionally, the Greens “will campaign to amend the Companies Act 2006 so that company directors must prioritise the wellbeing of all living entities (including all nations, all species and future generations, as well as all people alive today) and avoid negative environmental and social consequences”.

Mia Finley, people advisor for the employment law firm AfterAthena, said that this amendment seems to promote employee wellbeing, as well as environmental obligations.

Speaking to HR magazine, she said: "This law change could definitely have a positive impact, especially when it comes to employee engagement and retention, and be a core enabler in the performance of your people. Having a robust wellbeing strategy in place, whether this be within your HR/people strategy or incorporated into the overall business strategy, will bring about a supportive culture, ensuring that people feel valued."

Introducing new legal obligations would be the only way for businesses to commit to environmental responsibility, commented Tina Benson, founder and managing director of corporate event provider Team Tactics.

She told HR magazine: "I’m in full support of the Green Party’s policies to incentivise businesses to reduce their impact on the planet, and to crack down on those neglecting their responsibility to the environment.

"Some organisations have no intention to reduce their carbon footprint and fail to fulfil even the small wins like switching to recycled paper or collecting and recycling food waste.

"Introducing new regulations in black and white – and penalising those who neglect their corporate social responsibility – is the only way to make broad, impactful change and progress towards ambitious environmental targets."

Read more: CSR vs ESG – a battle between FDs and HR?

Support for unions

The Greens have pledged to repeal “anti-union legislation”, “restore the right to strike” and introduce a Charter of Workers’ Rights. They also want to introduce a maximum 10:1 pay ratio for all private and public-sector organisations, and deliver equal rights for all workers currently excluded from protections, including gig-economy workers and people on zero-hours contracts.

Wage changes

The party promised to introduce a minimum wage of £15 an hour for all workers. It claimed it would offset the costs for small businesses by increasing the employment allowance to £10,000.

Addressing the issue of pay for NHS workers, the Greens would also "choose to treat and pay nurses, doctors and NHS staff fairly, so we don’t lose them overseas". This would involve an increased budget for NHS staff costs and supporting junior doctors' call for pay restoration.

Read more: Conservatives' manifesto: What HR needs to know

Employment rights

The Greens would extend employment rights to day one of employment. This would extend to enforcing workers' rights and abolishing tribunal fees.

The party has also pledged to push for pay gap protections to be extended, to protected characteristics including ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation.