UK bosses improve relationship with workers

Employers have become better at addressing the needs of staff, but there is still room for improvement, according to the government’s minister for employment.

Gerry Sutcliffe, who was a shop steward for the Graphical Paper and Media Union – now part of Amicus – during the 1970s, said the relationship between worker and employer had changed dramatically since then.

“When I was on the shop-floor, the managers used to say: ‘We don’t care what happens when you’re not here’,” he told Personnel Today. “Most companies now want to know about the individual, what makes them tick and how they can support them.”

Sutcliffe said one of the key drivers of this cultural change has been the Information and Consultation Directive. Under this legislation, employers with more than 150 staff must inform and consult employees on any decisions that may materially affect them.

“It’s not about the regulations being the be all and end all,” he said. “It’s about the organisational culture change that we want to see come from this.”

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