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The Financial Times (p9) reports on yesterday's meeting between prime minister Tony Blair and trade union leaders....
The Financial Times (p9) reports on yesterday's meeting between prime minister Tony Blair and trade union leaders.

John Monks, general secretary of the Trade Union Congress is quoted: 'We want to develop a sense of common action and purpose with employers.'

It is expected that a keynote speech at next week's TUC conference from Adair Turner, director-general of the Confederation of British Industries, will underline the readiness of industry to co-operate with Monks's vision of a 'New Unionism'.

The FT quotes Monks further: 'The days when trade unions provided an adversarial opposition force are past in industry. We have to admit that one of the reasons for the UK's inadequate postwar economic record has been bad industrial relations, and trade unions must take some of the blame. But it has become too easy for companies to modernise working practices by trampling on their own workforces.' He is keen to see a 'new settlement based on partnership' which provides employees with basic minimum workplace rights.

John Cridland, the human resources director of the CBI is also quoted: 'There is a new attitude in the unions in industry'. The FT maintains that the TUC has been trying to establish closer relations with the CBI. Monks is trying to reach agreement over the controversial issue of union recognition. But Cridland said the two sides could not agree on the definition of a bargaining unit in a company, the basis for recognition, nor what the threshold of worker support should be to trigger such recognition.
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