CBI warns of return to ’70s

The director-general of the CBI has accused the government of trying to form a social partnership between ministers, unions and business that would push workplaces back to the 1970s.

In his only interview with a business magazine ahead of the CBI’s annual conference this week, Sir Digby Jones told Personnel Today that an attempt by the DTI to involve the employers’ group in implementing government promises to unions was unacceptable.

Trade and industry secretary, Alan Johnson, has asked Jones to help implement the so-called Warwick Agreement, which contains 67 promises – including several that have angered business, such as increased redundancy rights, more rights for temporary staff and improved holiday allowances.

But Jones said: “I don’t see why the CBI should suddenly be asked to form a social partnership that frankly was consigned to the dustbin of history in this country many years ago. If this government has got itself into a mess with its union paymasters it has got nothing to do with me.”

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