Less than six weeks ago Angela Rayner boldly outlined Labour’s opposition to devolved employment rights for Scotland, by saying: "I want employment law across the whole of the United Kingdom to be uplifted and better. That's why we've got a new deal for working people.”

For some that was good enough.

Commitments such as; banning zero hours and fire and rehire and changing the definition of a worker to give more people the benefit of full employment rights. Plus, a simple process for unions to talk to workers when at work, as well as a much friendlier route to collective bargaining for the unorganised, all gave grounds for optimism.

But in a classic example of political statements not lasting until teatime, the gist of what Angela said has already been undermined.

I don’t say this with any great pleasure, but the recent row backs on employment rights at Labour’s policy forum have been on the cards for a while.

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The much heralded, “salmon and scrambled egg” wooing of big business, has without doubt led to some major language changes from what was written in Labour’s New Deal for working people.

And as the devil is always in the detail, it can’t just be brushed under the carpet.

From reducing the scope of proposals to encourage more sector level collective bargaining between unions and employers, to the watering down of a basic commitment to give every worker equal access to employment rights, things have changed and not for the better.

This may be particularly the case if you are someone in a workplace without the right to negotiate with your employer – without collective bargaining.

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With the UK in the middle of a national pay cut thanks to the cost-of-living crisis, Labour had planned on giving workers far easier access to trade union representation.

It was hoped that by doing so and giving workers a better opportunity to negotiate with their employers, that wages could be lifted out of stagnation and decline. There is a proven pay premium that comes with unionisation, and it makes sense to encourage wage bargaining if you are serious about “levelling up”.

But after late night ultimatums at the Labour National Policy Forum, those aspirations are left hanging by a thread. Previous commitments face strangulation by new wording that imposes hurdles for workers to jump through. The changes made to workplace access for trade unions do little more than make it harder for workers to organise.

Unfortunately, if pandering to the more reactionary elements of the business lobby remains the direction of travel for Labour, we can expect further row backs. If we are not careful this will only accelerate, if, and when they take power. The introduction of protracted “consultations” on commitments, once presented as promises before voters entered the polling station, would inevitably enable malign voices to influence the future of workplace rights.

All of these back door shenanigans have made the argument for devolving employment rights to Scotland even stronger today than it was a month ago. Just because Labour in Westminster backslides over workers’ rights, should the Scottish people be prevented from choosing a different path? Particularly if Labour opposition comes from a place of dogmatic hostility rather than rational argument?

By undermining their own position, Labour risks positioning itself as being far from serious when it comes to real reform at the workplace. As well as leaving plenty of questions to answer, their backtracking has now made the demand for devolution of employment rights all the more compelling.

Sharon Graham is the general secretary of Unite, one of the UK's largest trade unions, representing over 1.2million members across a range of industries.