What the CBI Conference means for unions

1. Cameron’s attack on Equality Impact Assessments

In the Prime Minister’s speech to the CBI today he said he would ‘call time’ on Equality Impact Assessments.


He also said “Consultations, impact assessments, audits, reviews, stakeholder management, securing professional buy-in, complying with EU procurement rules, assessing sector feedback”  are “not how you get things done.”


As noted in an earlier post, the minimum time for consultations is set to reduce to two weeks.


Responding to his speech, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘The Prime Minister says he is committed to clamping down on discrimination in the workplace but at the same time is removing an essential measure for monitoring it.


‘Equality impact assessments are not burdensome ‘red tape’. They have proved invaluable in highlighting how proposed legislation could affect women and vulnerable workers.


‘In the transport sector the axing of this requirement would allow staffing levels at stations to be changed without any regard to the impact this would have on female passengers’ safety.


‘This move smacks of a desperate attempt to placate the business lobby, which like the TUC, is deeply concerned at our economy’s anaemic growth. But scrapping equality impact assessments would be reckless and is not the way to get our country moving again.’


2. Head of CBI says big business ‘forgot’ to be fair.


Sir Roger Carr said businesses had to do more to act as roles models and repair their reputation in society after years of ‘bad behaviour’.


The excesses of a ‘contemptible few’ has ‘poisoned’ public attitudes to the value of business to society, the CBI President warned.
He said that it had been a case of ‘fairness forgotten in a number of sectors’, singling out banking and the media.


3. Ed Miliband focuses on the EU

The leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband chose vocational education, banking and corporate governance as areas he wants a dialogue with businesses about over the coming period.


But he chose Europe as the the focus of the speech:


“…many of our traditional allies in Europe, frankly, are deeply concerned, because they think Britain is heading to the departure lounge. Those of us, like me, who passionately believe that Britain is stronger in the European Union cannot be silent in a situation like this. I will not let Britain sleepwalk toward exit from the European Union. Because it would threaten our national prosperity.”


He said he wanted a ”more pro-growth, pro-jobs approach.” from Europe, rather than austerity, pledging: “I will fight your corner for Britain to remain in the EU. And I will fight your corner to reform it.”


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