The government has finally set out it’s industrial strategy in the form of a white paper published today – but says the TUC, – there’s a worrying absence of workers’ voices.
The Tories propose an independent Industrial Strategy Council, with business representatives, investors, economists and academics from across the UK – but absolutely no mention whatsoever of Trade Unions.
Given that Brexit will enable the Tories to introduce American employment practices into the UK as they have always promised the Republican Party in the US they would do if they got back into power; there is little surprise in that!
The TUC of course believes that "if the government wants the industrial strategy to succeed, workers must have a voice through union representation. We should have seats on both the council and any associated working groups."
Writing in today’s New Statesman, Frances O’Grady reminds us that:
"Before the strategy was published, we said the government should look to Germany. The inclusion of workers’ voice, and a seat at the table for unions, has been central to the success of German industrial strategy."
However, instead of looking to Germany, the Tories are going in the opposite direction and want the UK to mirror every aspect of American economic culture and to include the NHS in that too! Far from giving workers a say like Germanys, they wish to implement the US system of minimum worker’s rights and with that, absolutely no say whatsoever for Trade Unions!
Frances also remarks on the Government’s strategy of five “pillars”: ideas, people, infrastructure, business environment, and places.
These they are focusing on what they call "four grand challenges”: becoming a leader in artificial intelligence (AI), creating clean growth, shaping the future of mobility e.g. driverless cars, and meeting the needs of an ageing society.
"It is good sense to target sectors that will play a major role in the future global economy. In recent years the TUC has recommended AI and clean growth as areas needing industrial strategy “missions”. Unions will seek to be an active partner in taking forward work under each of the “grand challenges”."
In closing her article says what all Trade Unionists believe, but know we will never get under a Troy Government and certainly not after we leave the European Union:
"We hope that the industrial strategy can now develop into a long-term framework for far-sighted and inclusive improvement to the UK economy. The fundamental vision and priorities must be shared by the main political parties, and by businesses and unions. That doesn’t mean it should pass without criticism though.
And for now, the main problems we will be pushing the government to fix are lack of workers’ voices, lack of investment, and lack of strategy for low-paid and low-skilled service sector work."
Source: New Statesman / TUC / C Ingram