21 November 2016
When Theresa May announced the Conservative Party was the “party of workers”, her words were met with cynicism and disbelief. Indeed, it seems the mask is starting to slip.
Speaking to the Confederation of British Industry today, the Prime Minister backtracked on her vow to order the instatement of workers’ representatives on company boards.
“While it is important that the voices of workers and consumers should be represented, I can categorically tell you that this is not about mandating works councils, or the direct appointment of workers or trade union representatives on boards,” she told the employers’ association.
“Some companies may find that these models work best for them – but there are other routes that use existing board structures, complemented or supplemented by advisory councils or panels, to ensure all those with a stake in the company are properly represented. It will be a question of finding the model that works,” she added.
Over the weekend, she set out a “grand bargain” with business in the Financial Times, offering to cut corporation tax even further to be the lowest in the G20, in exchange for companies agreeing to improve their standards – i.e. lessen their exploitation of workers.
The Institute of Employment Rights argues that inviting workers’ representatives to have a seat at the table at all levels of the economy is the only way to stamp-out exploitation and stimulate the economy.
Among the proposals in our Manifesto for Labour Law, adopted by the Labour Party, are a new Ministry of Labour to give workers a voice at the heart of government; Sectoral Employment Commissions to provide for collective bargaining at industry level; improved recognition procedures at enterprise level to help trade unions represent their members in the workplace; and a National Economic Forum through which employers, workers, academics and politicians would be represented to assess the impact of new economic policy on all sections of society.