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Wednesday 23 November 2016

Theresa May And Workers Reps - NOT

If one example were needed of the ever-flexible nature of the policy proposals put forward by Theresa May, our Prime Minister who is not unelected, honestly, it is the idea that there should be workers’ representatives on company boards. Only recently, this was touted as being A Very Good Thing. But now it has been unceremoniously binned, with her most ardent backers in the right-leaning press cheering her on.
Back in July, Nils Pratley at the Guardian told “Theresa May’s plan to reform boardroom governance in the UK is extraordinary. The next prime minister didn’t merely attack grotesque levels of pay in FTSE 100 boardrooms, a refrain heard in vague terms from most of the runners in the Tory leadership race. She also wants employees to be represented on company boards, a specific proposal that reopens a debate that hasn’t been aired seriously in mainstream British politics since the mid-70s”.

Pretty radical stuff, it seems. And there was more: “For good measure, May plans to abolish advisory shareholder votes on pay and make all votes binding. And she wants to make it impossible for the likes of asset-stripping, tax-minimising Pfizer to mount a takeover bid for a pharmaceutical titan such as AstraZeneca … Those subsidiary pledges would themselves be remarkable in a Conservative leader”.

She was parking her tanks on Labour’s lawn. This was another way in which the Tories would rebrand themselves as the true workers’ party, taking advantage of the worries of some natural Labour supporters over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership. But Ms May is the ever flexible Tory leader, and so it came to pass that she ditched the whole idea.

The Guardian again: “Theresa May has told business leaders that her government will not force companies to directly appoint workers or consumers on to their boards, watering down an earlier pledge on the issue … She used a keynote speech at the CBI conference to say she had no plans to mandate such changes, despite suggesting that would be the case during the leadership contest and at the Conservative party conference”.

And that translated into sighs of relief at the Murdoch press, where the Baby Shard bunker is a union-free zone, and the idea of workers having a say, other than to ask “how high” when Creepy Uncle Rupe and his inner circle tell them to jump, is inconceivable. So it was no surprise at all that the Murdoch Sun was in full support of the PM.

THE Prime Minister is right to back down from the most hasty and aggressive of her measures to bring big business to heel … Forcing firms to have workers’ representatives on boards would have been a godsend only to the unions … If you doubt that, listen to their howls of outrage yesterday when she binned the idea … It would have slammed a brake on companies’ innovation and profits. And it is profit that creates more jobs, feeds families and pays mortgages and rents”. And enables Murdoch to dictate policy.

f ever you needed to see how this unelected foreigner meddles in this country’s politics, look at how Theresa May has turned tail and run away over worker representation on company boards. It’s done across Europe, to the benefit of many large firms, but one meddling foreigner can screw things up for the UK. No change there, then.


Andy McDonald said...

"It’s done across Europe, to the benefit of many large firms, but one meddling foreigner can screw things up for the UK"

It still seems that coverage of industrial relations in the UK is still framed by the experiences of the 1970s and 80s - so much so that "THE YOONYUNS" has become a sort of mythic bugbear even for those too young (i.e. under 50) to have had direct experience of those times.

As for the German experience, it reminds me of when, several years ago, I studied law. Following a comparison of the English and continental legal systems I asked why several features of the European systems weren't adopted over here. The reply from one tutor was telling - "Yes, they make sense and they'd deliver something closer to justice, but at the end of the day we can't admit a foreigner's doing something better than us".

Alan Clifford said...

This: "...the Tories would rebrand themselves as the true workers’ party..."

Is as tragically funny as this: "...it is profit that creates more jobs, feeds families and pays mortgages and rents...”

The first comes from a party that has resisted every single piece of legislation that meant true social progress. A party that rejects human rights legislation. Followed all along by sell out politicians in other parties.

The second comes from a "news"paper that made thousands redundant to increase profits for its owners and far right propaganda to keep profits high and wages low. A paper that regularly jeers at the quarter of our population in poverty and the millions unemployed. A racist paper.

Put them together and what do you get?......Corruption, hypocrisy and lies in a rotten to the core system.

What time's Flog It! on?