The Labour leader will say firms like British Airways and Centrica should be banned from forcing staff to choose between joblessness and a new contract with inferior pay and conditions.
Calling the practice “not just wrong but against British values,” he will use a speech to the TUC Congress to call on the PM to act by banning it with new laws, saying: “These tactics punish good employers, hit working people hard and harm our economy.
“After a decade of pay restraint – that’s the last thing working people need, and in the middle of a deep recession – it’s the last thing our economy needs.”
It comes after TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady told HuffPost UK firms were using the pandemic to “squeeze more out of staff” by forcing new contracts on them.
The opposition leader will warn of the “scarring effect mass unemployment will have on communities and families across the country” and renew demands for a “genuine national plan” to protect jobs when the furlough scheme closes at the end of October.
The state has supported around 9.6 million jobs through the furlough scheme since the country went lockdown in March.
Starmer, who accepts the scheme cannot continue indefinitely, will argue that with “a bit of imagination” the government can continue to help those most at risk of losing their jobs.
He will urge ministers to target sectors under the greatest pressure – including aviation and retail, as well as businesses in areas hit by local lockdowns.
He will also call for an expansion of part-time working – rewarding employers who give people hours rather than cut jobs – and the provision of training and support for those unable to return to work full-time.
“At this moment of national crisis we should take inspiration from our past,” he is expected to say.
“Be willing to put party differences aside and work together in the interest of the country.
“Imagine how powerful it would be if we could form a genuine national plan to protect jobs, create new ones and investing in skills and training?
“I’m making an open offer to the prime minister – work with us to keep millions of people in work.”
The Labour leader will deliver his speech online, rather than addressing delegates in London in person, as he is self-isolating after a member of his household developed possible Covid-19 symptoms.