CBI condemned over attack on unions

It
is "a bit rich" for the CBI to accuse the union movement of seeking
to obstruct public service reform, according to the head of the Transport and
General Workers’ Union.

Commenting
on accusations made by CBI director general Digby Jones that trades unions were
acting as a "block" on reform of public services, Sir Bill Morris,
general secretary of the T&G, said:

"Digby
Jones’ plea to the Government to turn a deaf ear to calls for improved workers’
rights shows the true yearning is for a backwards employment culture, one which
supports a two tier workforce in the name of ‘flexibility’, backs no
consultation with workers on their future and sanctions sacking by text message
and the closure of employees’ pension schemes.

"And
dire warnings that employers and unions will grow further apart ring
particularly hollow when the CBI stands in the way of extending the legal right
to join a trade union for around six million people today working in small
firms.

"Comments
such as these are music to the ears of bad employers. The CBI may well see this
as the good old days, but for unions and employees this approach spells
insecurity and misery for many."

Morris
went on to warn the Government that the CBI’s whinging on public services has
no legitimacy:

"Those
who make no claim to be users of our public services can perhaps be forgiven
for not noting the progress made in public service reform. With agreements such
as Agenda for Change, far from blocking progress unions are supporting reform
and now have to defend these measures under threat from foundation hospitals.

"When
we speak up for public services, we do so as triple stakeholders. It is the
trade unions who are committed to improving and sustaining our public services
because our members fund them, provide them and depend upon them."

By Quentin Reade

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