Blair: Unions a `force for good'

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THE PRIME Minister yesterday pledged his support for modern trade unionism in only his second appearance on a trade union platform since the general election.

In contrast to his hectoring performance at the TUC conference in 1997, Tony Blair said the movement's drive to end the "us and them" conflict inindustry was "immensely important" to the economy.

Mr Blair said pounds 5m would be made available to promote "partnership" between businesses and their workers. Mr Blair said: "I see trade unions as a force for good, an essential part of our democracy, but as more than that, as a force for economic success."

Mr Blair's address came ahead of a Bill on union recognition which is due to become law. It is due to receive Royal Assent in July.