Future of Work

Trade unions are pushing the prime minister to fulfil her promise to require companies to put worker representatives on boards. The TUC said Theresa May’s promise could be law within a year if a consultation is launched shortly after the Conservative Party Conference.

Mrs May first made the pledge in July when she launched her campaign to be prime minister.

The idea met with a cool response from business lobby groups.

The Institute of Directors said having workers on the board of directors “can bring benefits in terms of better employee engagement”, but said it should be voluntary.

In a new report, the TUC said the law should apply to all firms with more than 250 workers. The TUC argues that worker representation on boards is a feature in some of Europe’s most successful economies, including Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark.

General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The TUC stands ready to work with Theresa May to make workers on boards a reality. If the political will is there, this policy can be on the statute books within a year.

“The European experience shows that improving worker representation is not something for the UK to fear. It helps improve company performance,”

However it is not clear whether the issue will get much attention from the government, which is working on its strategy for leaving the European Union.

Earlier the prime minister told the BBC that the government will formally begin the Brexit process by the end of March 2017. She confirmed the deadline for triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which sets in place a two-year process of withdrawal.

She made the comments before the start of the the Conservative Party’s annual conference, which is being held in Birmingham.

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