BTR leads British moves against works councils
Wednesday 15 May 1996
Directors at BTR have decided that a single council for the whole company would be "large, complex and irrelevant other than to some politically- motivated union groups". Under European law the council is designed to act as a forum for consulting and informing employees over strategy.
Minutes of a meeting held at Windsor disclose BTR management's belief that such a body would also be "difficult to manage and control and would be inviting groups together whom we would want to keep apart". The document says that information will be exchanged at a meeting with other like-minded organisations such as Hanson, Tomkins, American Brands and Cookson. Some of the companies are identified with the secretive European Works Council Study Group, which is made up largely of conglomerates keen to minimise the impact of the legislation.
At the BTR meeting, held on 14 November last year, directors opted for a "simple and minimalist" approach, with works councils established to cover "product groupings" on an individual site basis. The conglomerate is made up of five main commercial interests: industrial products, transport, construction, electrical systems and consumer products. The legal obligation to provide "transnational information" would be catered for by the attendance at the meetings once a year by a representative of the BTR parent group.
All companies with 1,000 employees in European Union countries, with 150 in each of two member states, must set up a works council. They are able to establish a structure on a voluntary basis until 22 September, after which it will be strictly circumscribed by a European directive. Britain's opt-out from the social chapter of the Maastricht Treaty does not exempt UK-based multinationals from the law, but allows companies to exclude UK workers. None has so far registered its intention to do so.
The TUC was dismayed by the contents of the BTR document. Nick Clark, the TUC's works council specialist, argued that many companies had been far more positive about the legislation in order to tailor the structure to accommodate both the needs of the business and the aspirations of the workforce.
He accused BTR and other conglomerates of operating "by stealth". He said: "The attitude seems to undermine the intention of the directive and subvert its spirit. What have they got to hide? What are they afraid their workers will find out?"
- 1 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 2 West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
- 3 Mother fed her daughter tapeworms to make her skinny for pageant
- 4 Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
West poised to join forces with President Assad in face of Islamic State
Pamela Anderson rejects ice bucket challenge because of ALS experiments on animals: 'Mice had holes drilled into their skulls'
James Foley 'beheaded': Isis video shows militant with British accent 'execute US journalist' – as hunt begins for killer
ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...
£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...
£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...
£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...