Labour wary of TUC rights policy

The Labour Party sought to distance itself last night from a radical employee-rights policy expected to be endorsed today by TUC leaders.

The plan to create workplace committees at small and medium businesses, with detailed legal obligations on management to inform and consult employees, is likely to be passed by the TUC's executive committee.

Senior Labour figures were at pains yesterday neither to support the proposals nor to reject them, but they may be ill at ease with the party's new "business-friendly" image.

The document calls for legally backed workplace committees to represent all employees and foresees a legal obligation on employers to consult employees on redundancies, equal opportunities, training, hours and new production methods.

Iain Smedley, of the Institute of Directors, said such legislationwould mean compulsory union recognition through the back door and the re-introduction of the closed shop.

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