Social Partnership

An Executive Council Statement to the 1998 Annual Delegate Meeting - Social Partnership.

Download: Social Partnership EC Statement 1998

Date Posted: 8 April 1998




There are several reasons for this. Social partnership is very fashionable right now. It seems as if everyone is talking about partnership. It has become the new "buzzword" in industrial relations.

The new Government, the TUC and the CBI are all promoting partnership at work. Every week there is another conference held somewhere in the country on the topic of partnership.

There is a huge amount being written about the issue. Industrial relations commentators are saying this is the most exciting thing to happen to UK industry in years. No-one is talking about any other approach to industrial relations. Social partnership has become the only show in town.

At a time when everyone is talking about partnership, the Union needs to get involved and get on board. This is a new and challenging area of work for the Union as Social partnership is a very recent development in the UK. It will mean both unions and companies learning to do things differently. Some of the traditional ways we have had of doing things may need to change. Social partnership means new ways of working for us all.

Because partnership has only arrived here in the last few years, employers and unions are still coming to grips with what it means.We do not have one definition of social partnership which everybody agrees with. Instead, partnership is talked about as being a set of broad principles. It is still being debated and defined.

The Union needs to be part of this debate. We have an important contribution to make to the debate on partnership, not least the experience of our members. An ADM paper on social partnership will help us to prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead, and to contribute to and influence the debate which is taking place.

Social partnership EC Statement was correct at date of publication April 1998.