Unions have the answers to many of the challenges facing the government – but real engagement has to be on offer, Prospect General Secretary Mike Clancy will tell a fringe event at next week’s Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.
The government could draw on the diverse workplace experience of unions like Prospect to improve productivity, drive economic growth and enhance skills,” Clancy will tell the event organised by think-tank Respublica. We know from our own membership polling that a quarter of our members voted Conservative at the last election. We also know they have a broad range of views on the big issues of the day such as Brexit.
It might not chime with common perceptions, but most unions, like Prospect, are independent of any political party and focus purely on promoting their members’ interests. For Prospect, that means being evidence-led and prepared to talk to a range of employers and political parties – even if we don’t always agree. It is particularly important to have a constructive dialogue with the government of the day. It may be stating the obvious, but the Conservatives are setting the agenda and we want to be able to influence that positively.
But this government needs to answer two questions: what sort of workplaces does it want its policies to produce and will it give working people and their unions a say in their futures? When doing their job well, unions should provide a positive challenge to government: holding it to its key pledges on the economy and public services. Whatever our political persuasions, we all want to see the economy and working people thrive,” Clancy concluded.