The CBI has attacked the government and trade unions for their constant pressure on private sector firms to boost productivity.
Sir Digby Jones, director general of the CBI, told the Institute of Directors’ (IoD) annual convention that he’d “had enough of unions and government saying ‘get more productive’ to the private sector”.
“What about asking the public sector to reform? Whenever the government asks the public sector to change, the unions go on strike – that is not reforming,” he said.
Jones cited the proposed changes to public sector pensions as a good example. Earlier this year, he said, the government backed down in the face of huge union pressure over plans to end final-salary schemes and raise the retirement age.
All public sector pension schemes will now undergo specific negotiations involving the government, unions and employers after union pressure.
However, Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, defended the role of the unions. He said there were examples of reforms in public services.
“Unions do want to see a successful and productive economy, and we do need a strong private sector,” he said.
see page 4 for more from Sir Digby Jones’s speech at the IoD convention