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PM urged to fulfil pledge

Employees on company boards ‘within a year’, says TUC

frances-ogradyTrade Unions are urging Prime Minister Theresa May to fulfil her promise of forcing companies to give employees a right to sit on company boards.

The TUC says that if she gives the go-ahead after the Conservative Party conference the policy could be implemented within a year.

A TUC report published today sets out a timetable that could be achieved if the political will is followed through with action.

The report comes just two months after the Prime Minister the announced her commitment to worker representation in the boardroom.

All Aboard: Making worker representation on company boards a reality sets out:

  • A timetable for implementation: The TUC says that if Theresa May begins a consultation shortly after Conservative Party Conference, the policy could be on the statute books within 12 months.
  • Scope: The new law should apply to all firms with workforces of more than 250, and could be phased in gradually, starting with larger businesses.
  • Quotas: The report calls for a third of company board members to be worker representatives, who should be directly elected by their colleagues.

The report finds that similar requirements are in place in 12 other EU member states, including Austria, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.

Surveys there reveal that the majority of businesses viewed employee representatives on the board positively.

The TUC says that allowing workers to sit on company boards would encourage the long-term success of individual firms, as both employees and directors worked together in the interests of long-term company performance.

The TUC argues that the current approach of relying solely on shareholders to hold companies to account has delivered neither economic success nor social justice.

Aberdeen-based First Group, a FTSE 250 transport company with more than 110,000 employees, is among those to have implemented worker representation in the boardroom.

It has had an employee director on the board since its foundation and the position is currently held by railwayman Mick Barker.

Commenting on the report, TUC 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 UK firms to fear. It helps improve company performance.

“These are common sense plans. Those on the shop floor have a clear interest in the long-term success of their companies and deserve a bigger say.

“Seats for the workforce on company boards would do much to improve the reputation of corporate Britain. It is essential the Prime Minister holds her nerve and resists any calls to water down the proposals.”

The full TUC report, All aboard: how to make worker representation on company boards a reality is available here:

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