Minister keen to consult on new employment law

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

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