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Hotbeds of militancy – what do you think?

first_img Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Last week’s rantings by the unions, Government and employer lobby overworker rights did nothing to help the drive towards partnership andconsultation.  But as our columnist StephenOverell suggests this week these public spats at TUC conference time havebecome a bit of an annual farce. Both sides seem to have conveniently forgotten their achievements so far –brought about by collaboration not conflict. The unions and employers supportedthe Government in tackling long-term difficult decisions such as theindependence of the Bank of England, cutting debt, tough fiscal rules and thenew deal to ensure the UK avoided recession and achieved economic growth. In return, they were promised low inflation and economic stability. Thatsubsequently led to increased investment in the public sector and theintroduction of wider social justice, including the minimum wage andfar-reaching human rights. Some 1.6 million jobs have been created in the pastsix years and UK employees are better protected than ever. The unions are demanding employment rights equivalent to those in Germany,ignoring that half of Europe is now in recession. Germany’s mire of employmentlaw is a key factor in its high unemployment. Employers will be relieved to know that the Government is continuing toresist these arguments so that a more flexible labour market can be maintainedhere. It’s not clear whether the mood of the ‘awkward squad’ union leaders is intune with members of the RMT, T&G and Amicus. HR working in these sectorsought to have its finger on the pulse of the mood. Certainly, the TUC’s generalsecretary Brendan Barber and his predecessor John Monks (now head of theEuropean TUC) do not appear to be men ready for widespread industrial unrest. And while awareness about worker rights is increasing, there is inevitably alot of ignorance about the new legislation on the shopfloor. Most workplaces donot feel like hotbeds of militancy at the moment. The Government must deliver on partnership with the unions and give them abigger role in policy-making. Big business has to invest, innovate and show agreater willingness to inform and consult workers on key decisions. And inreturn for these changes, the unions have to mature into constructive players,capable of listening and responding to their members and to the legitimateconcerns of employers. By Jane King, editor of Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Hotbeds of militancy – what do you think?On 16 Sep 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more