End unions’ collective bargaining rights to boost growth, says IoD

The Government should end collective bargaining between unions and employers in the NHS and education sectors in order to boost productivity, the Institute of Directors (IoD) has said.

Joe McMorrow, employment lawyer at Pinsent Masons, says the IoD’s proposal to scrap flexible working will not be taken up by the Government.

The suggestion is one of 24 “freebie” proposals, which the IoD believes could boost economic growth at little or no expense to the taxpayer.

However, the TUC has accused the IoD of being in a “Thatcherite fantasy world” if they believe that such measures will lead to growth.

The IOD’s “freebie” growth plan also calls for the Government to cut red tape for firms by abolishing the rights to request flexible working and time off for training.

Another of the controversial suggestions is to introduce a minimum £500 deposit for workers taking cases to tribunals, in order to deter vexatious claims.

The Government announced last month that the Ministry of Justice is to launch a consultation into the introduction of employment tribunal fees but unions have expressed concern that fees could put off low-income workers with genuine claims.

Miles Templemen, director-general of the IoD, commented: “The Government wants to maximise the opportunities for economic growth but it has little or no money with which to do it. Today we have identified two dozen growth-boosting measures that will cost the taxpayers little or nothing.”

However, TUC general secretary Brendan Barber accused the IoD of confusing policies that will make life easier for directors with those that will boost economic growth.

“Ending national collective bargaining in the NHS would result in increased costs and bureaucracy, entrench regional inequality and destroy robust pay systems that have helped ensure women receive fair and equal pay,” Barber argued.

He added that the right to request flexible working makes business sense and should not be seen purely as a cost for employers to avoid: “Workplaces where employees can alter their working patterns to fit around their busy lives and commitments outside the office will feel less stressed and anxious, and be more committed and productive at work.”

Members of Personnel Today Plus can access a model policy on the right to make a request in relation to study or training. If you are not a member, sign up for free here.

XpertHR subscribers can also view guidance on the right to request flexible working.

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