Prospect make case for trade unions at Liberal Democrat conference


Prospect make case for trade unions at Liberal Democrat conference

Prospect senior deputy general secretary Sue Ferns spoke at the Liberal Democrat party conference about the benefits of trade unionism

Westminster signpost and Big Ben

Sue was speaking at an event hosted by Prospect entitled ‘No voice, no growth. Is a lack of democracy at work holding back the UK economy?’

The event, held in September, was chaired by economist Vicky Pryce.

Sue argued that: "There is mounting evidence that wage stagnation and low productivity are related to the lack of employee voice at work". She cited international studies as well as work undertaken by Prospect this year.

Sue said the solution was a combination of government policy and trade union modernisation. She highlighted Prospect’s proposal for a new duty on large employers to bargain collectively with their workforce as a key policy change that could help drive up productivity and boost the economy.

Baroness Susan Kramer, Liberal Democrat treasury spokesperson said we are at a point of ‘revolution’ in the world of work and posed the question of how we make that work for the workforce.

Ian Brinkley from the Chartered Institute of Personal Development made the point that there was no ‘silver bullet’ to fix the UK’s productivity problem, but argued that more voice for workers was part of the solution.

"When we talk about productivity there is never enough focus on what happens in the workplace," he said.

He also made the point that a lack of investment in business transformation and lack of involvement of the workforce in that process were partly to blame for stagnating wages.

Prospect will also be hosting events at the Labour, Conservative and SNP party conferences in coming weeks.