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LONDON – Jeremy Corbyn accused Theresa May of breaking her promise to stand up for British workers during Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
The Labour leader repeatedly attacked the Conservative government’s approach to restricting zero hours contracts and tackling executive pay.
Corbyn also pointed out that Steve Easterbrook, the British CEO of McDonald’s, reportedly earned £11.8 million ($15.4 million) last year, which he said is 1,300 times more than the average UK member of staff.
Corbyn said the prime minister had “gone back on her word” over the Conservatives manifesto pledge to make chief executives’ pay accountable to shareholders.
“Where was the tough talk for corporate greed, was is just for the campaign, or is it going to be put into law?” he asked.
May dodged any specifics about McDonald’s. She said the Conservative government “has been putting workers first” and pointed to plans published last week.
These included proposals to force listed companies to reveal the pay ratio between the chief executive and the average worker, but more radical plans, to put workers on company boards and make companies hold annual votes on executive pay, were dropped.
May said the number of people on zero hours contracts was “very small” and there are people who say it is a “benefit” for them to be on those contracts.
Watch Corbyn and May clash at PMQs:
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The prime minister claimed that “it’s this government that has taken action on zero hour contracts.”
Corbyn attempted to force May to condemn Sports Direct’s lack of action on its promise to get rid of zero hour contracts, but the prime minister did not respond.
Corbyn pressed May on whether she would “see sense and end the public sector pay cap,” to which the prime minister replied the government “absolutely values” the work of those in the public sector and that it was waiting for two public pay reports to be published before action.
However, the Labour leader replied: “Warm words don’t pay food bills… she must end the public sector pay cap.”
Commenting on the government’s refusal to lift the public sector pay cap because of austerity, he said: “The prime minister had no problem finding a billion to please the DUP, no problems whatsoever.”