Wednesday, December 9, 1998 Published at 02:09 GMT
Business: The Economy
Mandelson seeks to calm Fairness at Work nerves
Peter Mandelson: Seeking consensus
Trade Secretary Peter Mandelson has promised that he does not intend to impose trade union recognition in every workplace "willy nilly".
Addressing a meeting of the London Region of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Mr Mandelson said he was seeking a lasting solution on industrial relations
"What is at issue is statutory [union] recognition where - despite substantial support amongst employees of a company - the employer still refuses to concede it," he said.
The Fairness at Work proposals would see unions entitled to recognition by an employer if "50% plus one" of the workforce are members.
The trade secretary told the meeting he was not "starry eyed" about trade unions and he made it clear that such key elements of Tory industrial relations legislation would not be changed.
Mr Mandelson reinforced his message with a firm commitment to the "shape" of the trade union recognition plans in the white paper.
"I don't want them fighting over it for forever and a day," he said.
"It will be verified and corroborated so that everyone can feel satisfied that the desire for recognition - to be represented collectively by the trade unions - is something the majority of the workforce actually wants."
"Like most things, the devil is in the details, so we're still waiting," he said.
"The real test is going to be workability, fairness and it is right."
Details of the Fairness at Work legislation will probably be published early in 1999.
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