Tag Archives: industrial democracy

Liberal Democrats should support a strong, member led trade union movement

Without trade unions. we wouldn’t have many of the rights we take for granted today. From parental leave to paid holidays to the right to strike, these organisations have helped build the case for better working conditions over the years. The right of workers to take action and withdraw their labour is an important one.

That’s not to say that unions always act sensibly. I grew up in the 1970s and was horrified by these mass meetings where people had to vote by raising their hands in front of everyone. If you didn’t agree with the scary leaders, would you not be terrified of what might happen to you if you voted against them? Abuse of power, wherever it happens, is offensive to the liberal mindset and what we had at that time was massive abuse of power by collectivist union leaderships. So, there were quite a few aspects of the Tory reforms of the 1980s that were helpful. Introducing secret ballots before strike action could happen was a very good thing. If Scargill had balloted the niners in 1984, the outcome might have been very different.

But now the Tories have come up with measures to completely undermine the unions. Even if we were having 1970s levels of strikes, some of these plans would not be appropriate. The requirement for 40% of those eligible to back the proposals imposes on unions alone a restriction not faced by the Government itself. Elected on just over a third of the votes of just over two thirds of the people, it is now free to impose its overall majority on all of us. Is that fair? It’s effectively questioning its own legitimacy but can’t see it.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 24 Comments

The Independent View: Shareholder democracy should be for the many, not the few

Whether it’s payday lenders or rising energy bills we’ve never been more interested in corporate behaviour. But despite the fact that through our pensions we own billions of pounds of holdings in British businesses, pension savers are shut out of the investment system and denied the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Legal & General’s decision to set up a pension fund AGM (PAGM) represents an important first step in spreading ‘shareholder democracy’ to the millions whose savings are managed through a pension fund.

Shareholder democracy means giving shareholders the rights and means to hold companies to account – making …

Posted in Op-eds and The Independent View | Also tagged and | 3 Comments

Opinion: Liberal Democrats have a unique position on co-operatives. We should use it.

At party conference I asked Nick Clegg why the word ‘co-operative’ appeared only once in our economy paper and not at all in the resolution presenting that paper to conference. He advised me to write my views on a postcard and send them to him, and this is that postcard.

The third clause of the preamble to the constitution sets out the underlying principles of economic liberalism clearly and concisely:

We will foster a strong and sustainable economy which encourages the necessary wealth creating processes, develops and uses the skills of the people and works to the benefit of all, with a

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

Opinion: Call-me-Dave is right – let the real owners decide company policies

Jonathan Hunt argues that the time has come for Democratic Capitalism

When David Cameron calls for shareholders to make decisions about pay and other issues in the companies they are listed as ‘owning’ he was not, of course, talking about the real owners.

Since World War Two, the 80:20 rule has been more than reversed. In the 1940s, getting on for 80 per cent of shares were owned by individuals. Today, that proportion is a less than 20 per cent. The shares are held in the names of pension funds, fund managers, insurance companies and other parasitical institutions.

The people who run them …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 11 Comments
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