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Monday, September 13, 1999 Published at 11:24 GMT 12:24 UK


UK Politics

TUC faces 'millennium challenge'

Unions 'must recognise the changing world of work'

The TUC is to attempt to raise union membership by one million over the next five years.

General Secretary John Monks set out a millennium challenge to delegates at the Brighton conference on Monday.

He said he also wanted workers to act as partners with management and set new standards of equality.

Ambitions

He told delegates: "I'm ambitious for unions to be every bit as relevant for the jobs of the future as they were at our birth to the mines, the mills and the factories of industrial Britain.

"I'm ambitious for trade union membership to rise by a million over the next five years."


[ image: John Monks:
John Monks: "We want relationships of mutal respect"
He pointed out that the average age of a union members is 46, compared to the age of the average worker which is 34.

Mr Monks described how the world of work was "changing fast" and said the unions had to respond.

"I'm ambitious for British workers through their unions to be real partners with management at work, getting rid of 'us and them', master and servant, 'do as you're told'," he said.

"Instead we want relationships of mutual respect, trust and genuine partnership.

"I'm ambitious too that unions are seen as the workers best friend in an insecure world. They already are for millions, but millions more need to see us that way."

Top class

Tomorrow's unions would set standards at work, including new standards of equality, making work more family friendly and more in tune with the environment, Mr Monks said.

But all this had to be done against a commitment to top class performance levels.

"We want to live in a country that is generous, both home and abroad, we can only guarantee that through greater productivity and smarter working."

Mr Monks said unions should make it easier for members to join.

"We're not businesses, but that does not mean we should not be business like," he said.

He said he had considered the idea of re-naming the TUC Unions United, but added that football supporters were not happy with the suggestion.

Mr Monks added: "But there's a serious point here. We need to get trade unionism across to the young - renewing our movement not growing old together."



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