DESPITE it being the holiday period and Parliament in recess there’s still plenty of work going on behind the scenes.

The big report from the Business Select Committee on Sports Direct and their treatment of staff is a prime example.

Reports like this highlight the need for proper debate in our country on workers contracts and new problems of exploitation at work. In recent weeks I've also heard worrying reports about cuts to workers’ wages after the introduction of the higher living wage in other workplaces.

For some while the basic pay rate has gone up there have been related cuts to overtime and after hours payments. It means real cuts in net pay for staff which can't be right and emphasises to importance of trade unions to protect people at work, as well as better regulation to stamp out exploitation.

The Sports Direct report identifying “fear, pressure and unrealistic expectations” among its workforce makes for uncomfortable reading. The Sports Direct management must listen to this report and up their game.

Workers’ rights are an important topic in our Labour Party internal leadership election this summer and rightfully so. I have nominated Owen Smith who is picking up lots of support. Owen has cracking ideas on Day One employment rights and strengthening health and safety legislation. Owen also has ideas on improving transport infrastructure including suggesting a New Deal to get our country moving again. I'm concerned that a future reduction in European funding to our valleys won't be made up by the Tories in Westminster. A Labour Party emphasis on investing in access to jobs is key for our valleys towns.

I'm writing this column from the USA where I've taken time to volunteer for a few days on the Hillary Clinton campaign. This is a time of insecurity across our world and we need competent and experienced political leaders. We understand that in Wales as the NATO alliance, which is so important for our country’s security, met in Newport just a few years ago. I’m pleased therefore that, for the moment at least, Hilary is doing well. She has plans for investing in infrastructure and boosting jobs in the USA and these ideas are going down well with working families. Right winger Donald Trump on the other hand has had a bad week after criticising an armed forces veteran family and so has lost support from his Republican allies.

I will be watching the Presidential race with great interest over the next few months, as we get closer to US Election Day in November.