The new Employment Relations Minister has promised to work more closely with employers and trade unions to help reach agreement on future employment laws before they are introduced.
Gerry Sutcliffe, who replaced Alan Johnson in the recent government reshuffle, told Personnel Today that he favours the more inclusive 'framework' approach demonstrated by the DTI earlier this month when it thrashed out the details of the Information and Consultation Directive with the CBI and the TUC before announcing its final plans. Sutcliffe hinted that this approach may continue in future.
"It was significant that we were all there side by side," he said. "It's certainly a model I want to develop and this could be the way forward.
"We want to bring in people on all sides of these arguments and then create a framework for legislation. It's not right that we as government simply impose employment regulations," he explained.
Sutcliffe also spelled out his intentions for the future, which will include legislation that more accurately reflects the changing nature of the modern workforce.
"The labour market is changing and we're not talking about the old days of command and control where employers laid out conditions and everybody else responded. Employers have to compete now and people's attitudes have changed," he said.
However, the minister also stressed he wanted to improve the environment for employers by trying to ensure any new legislation was necessary.
By Ross Wigham