A new report produced by think tank ResPublica, with support from Prospect union calls on the government to adopt a radical ‘New Bargain’ that would see the renewal of collective bargaining to focus on pay, productivity and the gender pay gap. Particularly in the private sector where the extent of bargaining has declined in recent years.
In light of recent scandals like Carillion it also calls for a new right for workers to give businesses a red card if they feel businesses are in peril – triggering an automatic right to a response from government.
Mike Clancy, Prospect general secretary, said:
"Britain faces a crisis in productivity, stagnating wages, and widespread concern about the distribution of wealth around the economy. It is no coincidence that these problems have gone hand in hand with the decline in trade union membership and collective bargaining coverage.
“All political parties who want to address these challenges need to look again at the evidence showing that collective bargaining not only raises wages but improves productivity and skills.
“It is now time for a new bargain, one that challenges entrenched political, corporate and union views, which offers symmetry of power and real voice across our economy.”
Phillip Blond, Director of ResPublica said:
“It is to be hoped that the Chancellor’s Spring Statement will contain some new ideas and approaches on ‘worker voice’ and its relationship with productivity but we are not optimistic.
“If the Prime Minister and her Government are serious about tackling the UK’s productivity deficit then it must include Britain’s workers and trade unions in a new Grand Productivity Bargain.
“In a modern service economy productivity gains will come through improving the engagement and performance of employees, yet inexplicably there is no national approach or agenda to achieve this.”
The report includes eight areas of recommendations in all.