general secretary of the TUC says the UK is not returning to the strained
industrial relations culture of the 1970s and 80s, despite a number of high
profile strikes this year.
Monks told delegates at the CIPD annual conference he believes that industrial
relations are entering a new era of partnership between business, unions and
government. He said: “There is a world of difference between the current spate
of strikes and those experienced during the 70s – not least the vast reduction
in number. Despite some recent high profile disputes featuring certain sections
of the public sector, relations between unions and employers remain pretty
real facts are that, for some years under governments of both parties, the UK
has enjoyed astonishingly low levels of industrial action. The most that can be
said is that this year we have gone up one notch on this scale from
“astonishingly low” to “very low".
is not an easy option for either unions or management. It requires high levels
of trust and recognition of each other’s legitimate role. It does not pretend
to be a sweetheart relationship, but neither does it adopt the adversarial
approach that sees both parties always struggling.
it recognises that there will be much in common but also genuine differences
that should be worked through together. The unions have a real contribution to
make to the current debates – particularly on training and skills and the
organisation of work. “