» Monday, February 25, 2008

Trade Unions Meeting

Asked what happened at the Prime Minister’s meeting with trade unions this morning, the PMS replied that this meeting was intended to be private, but since it was now clearly in the public domain, we would comment on it. The Prime Minister met union representatives for about 45 minutes to discuss the issues around agency workers. It was a constructive meeting. As we had said last Friday, we did recognise the concerns that had been raised. We were talking to employers’ organisations about this as well and we continued to believe that a commission, which reflected views on all sides with an independent chair, would be the most useful way forward.

Asked if anything had been agreed yet, the PMS replied that it was a constructive meeting; as and when we had any specific announcements to make, we would make them.

Asked what the point of the commission was, the PMS replied that he did not want to get into the details of what was a private meeting. However, the Government recognised that there was an issue and that was why we believed that a commission was the right way forward in order to look at what could be done.

Asked if it was the Government’s view that a change in law would be unnecessary, the PMS said that we did not think that a Private Members Bill was necessarily the right way forward on this and that was why we were proposing a commission to get both the unions and employers involved. On Friday, employers were saying that they were happy to participate in such a commission; the purpose of this commission would be to identify what action could be taken going forward.

Asked if there was a time frame regarding this commission, the PMS repeated that he did not want to get into specifics; as and when we were in a position to make announcements regarding the commission, including its terms of reference and so on, we would make them.

Put that the unions wanted terms of reference from the Government that clearly committed to doing something and asked if that was something the Government would accept, the PMS replied that we did accept that there was an issue here that needed to be looked at and addressed; as and when we would be in a position to publish the terms of reference for this commission, we would do so.

Asked it would simply be a discussion of different points of view, the PMS replied that the CBI on Friday, were saying that they were prepared to participate in such a commission. There was a general acceptance of the need to take some action in this area and it was something that we would like to see accepted both by the unions and by employers, in terms of the actual action we would end up taking.

original source.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news

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