Minister urges HR to take lead in work disputes

The Employment Minister, Alan Johnson, has told HR it must play a lead role
in improving employment relations.

Speaking at a conference last week, Johnson told delegates that since the
1980s HR’s expertise in employment relations has become increasingly important.

"Now people are realising that all of that HR and employment relations
is absolutely central to all aspects of business," said Johnson.

"It is a completely different approach from previous decades, when I
think people thought employment relations was a fluffy add-on."

Johnson said that during the 1980s and early 1990s HR was often seen as
irrelevant and line managers were perceived to be getting on with the ‘real’

He is confident that HR’s current position at the heart of the business
agenda will remain regardless of economic conditions.

"Some people say that HR’s new role is down to the current war for
talent, the tight labour market, the recruitment situation and the whole battle
for quality staff – who will not join or stay with them [companies] without
good terms and conditions. But I think that it is more than that."

The minister said at the AnUMan conference in London that in Europe HR’s
importance is well established.

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