The world of trade unions has changed


Workplaces have moved on from archaic trade union power, forging a more productive way to work together, says North Dorset Lib Dems’ Mike Chapman

Mike Chapman Lib Dems
Mike Chapman Lib Dems

The second amendment to the US Constitution dates from 1791. It was about preventing central government wielding excessive power: people might bear arms to be equipped to stop those in authority from exceeding themselves. Fortunately, we have developed the more modern approach – with less collateral damage – of the ballot box plus a wholly independent judiciary.
This government is over-reaching, over-reacting and bullying. What mandate is there for tearing up the Northern Ireland protocol? The migrant export deal with Rwanda? For acknowledging the European Court of Human Rights only when convenient, and for their mission to dumb down and commercialise the BBC? What is to be done with a government whose response to the crisis on the railways has been a resounding “bring it on, if you are hard enough”? It is earnestly to be hoped that our education system, the very essence – and already undervalued – of our future prosperity, does not end up in a similar stand-off.
These strikes are ridiculous and wholly contrary to individual, corporate and societal best interests. The best performing enterprises work as partnerships; together, for mutual benefit. Us v Them, Theory X (more stick than carrot) and other such confrontational practices went out with the ark. Trade Union membership has become a marginal factor outside the public sector. Employee share-ownership is growing strongly.
Today, modern organisational imperatives and internal cultures are directed towards balancing the interests of all stakeholders; boards are supported by non-executives specifically there to find balanced positions; employee engagement in continuous improvement is becoming the norm.
I note our campaign in Tiverton and Honiton was dubbed the coming of the ‘The Yellow Peril’. If that means old orders, old school ties and out-dated, self-centred attitudes, left and right, are under threat from people with the passion, standards, experience and up-to-date understanding to make a better fist of it, then caveat Boris. Let Boris and all who ride with him beware. Now is a good time to join in, to bring your own understanding to bear, to make your own positive, constructive voice be heard. Thank goodness we don’t have the 2nd Amendment here.

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