The Government needs to establish a new agenda for the workplace if the UK
is to move to the ‘high road’ of partnership working and high performance.
That was the message from the TUC’s general secretary Brendan Barber,
speaking at AnUMan 2004, the annual employee relations event for unions and
He criticised the Government for being too responsive to employer grievances
on red tape, and said it had failed to listen to the views of trade unions
about the everyday realities of work.
"The sense of momentum when it comes to the workplace has been lost.
Why isn’t the Government challenging the unions more to see where they can make
a positive impact?" he said.
"If we’re not careful, we’ll be back on the low road of long working
hours, poor work-life balance and a demoralised workforce."
Barber said the majority of workplaces were still dominated by command and
control management, and the challenge for unions was to put the case for
partnership ever more forcefully.
He refused to be drawn on whether the skillset of union officials were up to
partnership working, but admitted the TUC needed to explore training in the
‘distinctive skills’ of problem-solving and communication.