date: July 4 2003
embargo: 09:30 Monday July 7 2003
Speaking at a press briefing held at the DTI, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said:
'Today is a real milestone along the long march to winning information and consultation rights in Britains workplaces. People at work are on the brink of securing the right to be told whats going on and the right to be heard. Its a breakthrough and a great victory for sustained cross-European union campaigning.
'These new rights could lead to the biggest change in workplace relations for a generation. But thats not a threat, its an opportunity for both employees and employers to improve the quality of working life and boost productivity.
'Too often new rights for people at work are presented as a zero sum game. If employees gain, then business must lose, goes the argument. That might well be true for some issues, but not for information and consultation. Companies and organisations that communicate with and consult their workforce gain a competitive edge. People want to feel valued and treated with respect, just as much as they want good pay and conditions. Partnership is good for employees and employers. Only bad managers will resent having to communicate with staff.
'In bringing us together with the CBI the government has done the right thing. We have always said that social partnership of this type is the best way to draw up the detail of implementation, particularly when theres a clear legal requirement or government policy that both of us understand is non-negotiable.
'Of course negotiating means that we will not always get everything all our own way. And not all the detail is yet resolved. Both of us no doubt have some more lobbying to do. But today we have a framework that is practical, builds on what already exists in the best UK workplaces and is rooted in our particular industrial relations traditions. Its not quite what we, or the CBI, would have wanted when we started, but both of us, I believe, can honestly say that our major concerns have been wholly or partly met.
'These are exciting proposals. Britains best workplaces already gain from good, high trust, relations with their staff. Too many of the rest are stuck in the kind of command and control management that now looks increasingly out of date, and lies behind much of our productivity gap. Of course you cant legislate to change attitudes, but you can nudge them in the right direction. That is what these rights will do.'
Notes to Editors:
The TUC is today publishing, Its good to talk - a briefing on why information and consultation is good for business, and a briefing on how the new scheme will work in practice. These are attached, or available on our web site.
- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access
pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet
- A series of TUC rights leaflets are available on our website and from the know your rights line 0870 600 4 882. Lines are open every day from 8am-10pm. Calls are charged at the national rate.
- If you want to apply for 2003 Congress credentials go to www.tuc.org.uk/mediacredentials2003. The closing date for applications is Friday 22 August 2003. Applications received after this date will be subject to a charge.
Media enquiries: 020 7467 1248 or 07699 744115 (pager) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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