Yesterday`s autumn statement by the chancellor will have disappointed even some of the Tory MPs, whose constituencies include thousands of the so-called "Jams" - the "just about managing". Similarly, more disappointment came with the prime minister May`s earlier so-called U-turn on co-determination, which suddenly became voluntary, rather than the promised "compulsory". Workers` representation on the boards of companies was one of the many promises she made, both in her Tory leadership campaign, and on the steps of
What she promised at the Tory conference was "to publish plans to have not just consumers represented on company boards, but workers as well".
And unbelievably, she added "Because we are the party of workers"!
The point is, however, that May was never going to force businesses to adopt co-determination against their wishes, and certainly never going to enforce a version of the system which would actually make a difference. Presumably many Tory MPs object to co-determination on principle; workers should have no say in how their employers run their companies. If workers on boards were to have any effect, for example, on the pay gap between average worker and CEO, the TUC reckons a third of companies` boards should be made up of workers` representatives. And that was never on the cards! Instead, businesses can choose to have workers` representatives on their boards if they so wish, as they have been able to for decades. But they don`t!