UK Prime Minister Theresa May let down British workers yesterday. She categorically ruled out legislating to make companies appoint workers to their boards.
Speaking at the conference of bosses’ club the CBI, the Prime Minister promised a “genuine consultation” on executive pay and ensuring that workers’ voices are “heard in the boardroom.”
But she backslid on her pledge, given when she became Tory leader in July, to ensure that “not just consumers [are] represented on company boards but workers as well.”
She ruled out making employee reps compulsory declaring: “We believe in capitalism.”
She told the bosses: “While it is important that the voices of workers and consumers should be represented, I can categorically tell you that this is not about mandating works councils or the direct appointment of workers or trade union representatives on boards.
“Some companies may find that these models work best for them, but there are other routes that use existing board structures, complemented or supplemented by advisory councils or panels, to ensure all those with a stake in the company are properly represented.”
She also ruled out “Germanstyle binary boards.”
Ms May had reiterated her commitment to workers’ representation on boards of directors at the Conservative Party conference in September. This was hailed by the TUC as “a good first step towards building a fairer economy.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“Theresa May made a clear promise to have workers represented on company boards. The proposals in her speech today do not deliver on this.
“This is not the way to show that you want to govern for ordinary working people.”
GMB leader Tim Roache said the speech was proof that Tory claims to be “the party of workers” amounted only to “warm words” from the PM.
"That the Prime Minister stood in front of big business and watered down a pledge made just a few months ago shows us all we need to know,” he said.
“The mask is slipping — nice speeches followed by broken promises will not help working people get fairness and dignity in the workplace.”