Sound basis for employee relations

The
Government has reformed the labour market to build a durable and fair basis for
constructive employee relations, according to the Labour Party manifesto.

It
lists its successes as four weeks’ paid holiday, the right to union
recognition, and proper rights for part-time employees.

The
manifesto, called Ambitions for Britain, highlights workforce consultation as
an area of concern. It acknowledges that when large-scale redundancies are
considered there is an especially strong case for consultation.

It
promises to implement the findings of its three-month review into consultation.

"We
support conciliation in the workplace to avoid resorting to litigation. We will
examine reforms that promote efficiency and fairness," the manifesto
states.

The
manifesto tackles the issue of increasing red tape for business.
"Regulation should be introduced where it is necessary, in a light-touch
way. We will cut back the red tape associated with regulation, examine
opportunities to put time limits on regulations, and deregulate by secondary
legislation," the document says.

Recent
work-life balance announcements have been confirmed in the manifesto. Statutory
maternity leave will be increased from 18 weeks to six months with pay rising
to £100 a week, and fathers will be paid £100 a week paternity leave for two
weeks.

The
Labour Party has re-iterated its commitment to reducing the gender pay gap. It
states, "We will work with employers and employees to develop effective
proposals, building on good practice and the sound business case, in both
public and private sectors."

Tackling
the productivity gap is also a priority. "Our ambition is for everyone to
have the opportunity to train in partnership of employers, employees and
government, each giving time and money to raise standards of skills in the
UK," says the manifesto.

"Our
first priority is to help the 7 million adults who lack basic literacy and
skills with 750,000 people achieving basic skills by 2004."

Manifesto:
at-a-glance

Tax
and the economy
– No rise in income tax
– Low inflation
– Sound public finances
– Raise in minimum wage to £4.20

Business
– Reduce regulation
– Review consultation laws
– Increase spending on transport by 20 per cent a year

Education

– 10,000 more teachers
– 5 per cent increase each year in spending on education
– Expand childcare places to provide for 1.6 million children

Health

– 20,000 more nurses, 10,000 more doctors
– 6 per cent increase each year in spending on health

Constitution
– Reform Whitehall

Crime
– Extra £1.6bn a year for the police by 2003-04
– 6,000 extra police recruits

Europe
– Monitor five economic indicators for monetary union, if favourable referendum
on the pound

www.labour.org.uk

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