Urgent need for debate on labour relations needed

I read with interest your editorial and front page story (‘Agency worker rights could yet kick in before 12 weeks’, Personnel Today, 27 May).

If this does happen it will not only bad for business, but could also represent a fundamental shift in labour relations.

The decision to broker a deal between the TUC and the CBI is a step towards social dialogue and national-level collective bargaining. And the significance of last month’s announcement was not lost on the European Commission, which heralded the decision as “a milestone for social dialogue in the UK”.

This is a change that has seemingly taken place without consultation and it is a model for negotiation that ignores the realities of the UK economy, because it does not incorporate the views of smaller employers on whom the decisions are binding.

If the government has decided to revert to tripartite labour relations, then a debate needs to be had as to whether this is a model that is appropriate for the UK.

Kieran O’Keeffe

Senior policy adviser

British Chambers of Commerce

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