The CBI has criticised what it says is a Labour plan to oblige companies to recognise and negotiate with unions where they are supported by a workforce majority.
CBI director-general Adair Turner said: `We are opposed to the proposals for compulsory recognition of trade unions in the workplace. We strongly believe that good employee relations should be built on trust. This cannot be fostered if collective bargaining has been imposed on an employer by a trade union.’
Trade secretary Ian Lang said the plans published on Monday were `dictated by the TUC’.
His Labour opposite number Margaret Beckett asked: `What’s wrong about people having the right to belong to a union and to be represented by it, if a majority of them want to be?’
The plans are said to form part of a recent draft of the business manifesto which Labour will publish after Easter and which will be sent to company bosses in a drive to win their support.
The Engineering Employers’ Federation said: `Collective bargaining works best when both parties enter into it with the right spirit.’
The recent EEF manifesto `did not favour the extension of trade union rights by new legislation’.
Reports that unions have drawn up a `hit list’ of firms which will have to recognise them if Labour wins the election were described by Labour employment spokesman Peter Hain as `garbage’.