Theresa May. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Brexit means Brexit. Workers on boards means workers on boards
We’re looking forward to the Prime Ministers speech this morning to the CBI, and any detail on the pledge she made in her conference speech to build ‘a country that works for everyone’.
Theresa May’s signature policy to date has been her plan to include workers on company boards. In her pitch to become Tory leader she said:
“So if I’m Prime Minister, we’re going to change that system – and we’re going to have not just consumers represented on company boards, but employees as well.”
She repeated the pledge in her speech to Conservative Party conference in October:
“later this year we will publish our plans to have not just consumers represented on company boards, but workers as well.”
We welcomed this when she announced it – it’s something we’ve called for for a long time now. But speculation in the media this morning worryingly suggests she may be about to water it down.
Mrs May is keen to be seen as a woman of her word: ‘Brexit means Brexit’ apparently. So until we hear otherwise, we’ll assume that ‘workers represented on company boards’ means ‘workers represented on company boards’.
That means workers able to speak for themselves about the issues affecting their workplace – bringing their insight into how the company works, as they do in most major European economies (our proposals for how this would work are set out in more detail here).
Voluntary-only schemes or proposals that would see someone delegated by management to speak on working people’s behalf would fundamentally undermine the idea.
Stepping back from her repeated promise would hardly fit with May’s desire to be ‘the party of the workers’ – or with her own aspiration to be a straight-talking prime minister, who says what she means and means what she says.