Blair offers 'new agenda'

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The Independent Online
A new deal for management, unions and the Government will be offered by Tony Blair, the Labour leader, today in his keynote speech to the TUC.

Side-stepping the warning of industrial militancy against bad employers by John Monks, the General Secretary of the TUC, the Labour leader will lay out a "new agenda" for the workplace to secure industrial peace. Mr Blair will offer partnership between government and industrial employers and employees.

He will not offer a return to "beer and sandwiches" for the unions at Downing Street.

Calling for co-operation, not conflict, he will tell employers that investment is better than short-term profit. But he will tell the trade unions that a Labour government will not govern in the "vested interests" of any group.

Further distancing the party from direct influence by the trade unions, Mr Blair will also make it clear he does not intend to repeal all the industrial relations legislation passed under successive Conservative Governments.

The core of the Labour leader's speech will be addressed outside the conference hall to wavering Tory voters with an attack on the betrayal of the Government election promises.

"He will throw back some of the words John Major used in the election campaign," said a Labour source. "It will be a very strong attack on the Government's record in the strongest terms he has ever used."

Accusing the Government of becoming a propaganda machine, Mr Blair will claim ministers are now more interested in causing trouble for Labour than in running the country. He will accuse the Government of running a low-tech, low-growth economy