07 March 2017
The Select Committee for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has urged the government to work with trade unions in its implementation of an industrial strategy.
We reported earlier this year that the government’s green paper on its new industrial strategy included zero mentions of trade unions and was instead focused entirely on employers’ voices.
The BEIS Select Committee welcomed the government’s recognition of the fact the economy is not working for all and an industrial strategy is needed, but felt the current plan will fail without significant changes, which were proposed to the government in a series of recommendations.
One such recommendation was that the government include all stakeholders in its design and implementation of an industrial strategy, including trade unions.
The Committee said: “It is only through broad and deep collaboration, not only with business but also with trade unions, academics and all interested stakeholders, that the government can build the lasting support necessary to deliver the long-term industrial strategy that business, government, and this Committee aspire to see,” it reported.
“It is clear that for a strategy to be genuinely long-term, government will need to build a strong coalition of support for its objectives across economic actors. Failure to do so will critically undermine aspirations for a strategy which lasts longer than a single minister or Parliament.”
The Institute of Employment Rights argues that any industrial strategy should have the voices of the UK’s 31 million workers at its heart and that workers should be provided the opportunity for representation at all levels of the economy. In government, they should be represented through a Ministry of Labour with a cabinet seat, as well as an Economic Forum, at which workers’ representatives can scrutinise the impact of policy alongside other key stakeholders such as employers and academics.
We also propose Sectoral Employment Commissions in each major industry, at which trade unions and employers’ associations can collectively agree minimum standards on pay and conditions, including issues of strategic importance such as training and upskilling the workforce and increasing industrial productivity.
These recommendations and more can be found in our Manifesto for Labour Law – 25 recommendations for reform, the principles of which have been adopted by the Labour Party.