Call me old fashioned but I was brought up with the notion that building trades unions meant convincing workers to join them, and getting them involved. However, in the wake of the news that union membership has declined by around 100,000 despite all these wonderful New Labour 'union friendly' policies, Brendan Barber has come up with a startling new plan to build up union membership.
The TUC is going to ask employers to organise workers! It saves us the effort doesn't it.
The TUC is targetting non-union companies in "a concerted attempt to convince reluctant employers that, rather than posing a threat to them, union involvement in their workplaces could actually prove to be an asset to their businesses".
"An employers' introduction to trades unions" tells these ill-informed bosses that union reps can settle individual disputes and save them going to time consuming and expensive Tribunals.
Union reps have "a positive benifit on the UK economy", and save days lost though accidents.
Brendan Barber says that over 2,500 companies have realised that working with unions makes sound business sense" chosing to recognise unions. Perhaps it's a slip of the toungue but Brendan "hopes that this marketing drive" will convince more to do the same.
Perhaps somebody should tell Brendan this is not a new idea. The EEPTU/AEU used to approach employers rather than workers to get recognition agreements. The only problem was that the workers were denied the right to chose which union represented them. A small price to pay for a 'partnership' which is directed at achieving success in the global market place, I suppose.
I really don't know whether to laugh or cry.