You can read the introduction from our General Secretary Roy Rickhuss CBE below:
“In an age of accelerated industrial change, people must be placed at the heart of any government industrial strategy. Change in today’s world is – and will continue to be – driven not by machines but by human innovation. But without a skilled labour force providing the beating heart of industry, innovation will fade, growth will suffer and the effect on our communities will be devastating.
“Community is the leading union in the UK steel industry and our members know only too well the consequence of governments failing to manage change. Unless government starts to address this challenge, mitigating the risks of automation and rapid change, more and more of our towns and cities will be left behind.
“Whether it is in the reform of energy costs, in more intelligent uses of public procurement policy to support our home industries and communities, or in the re-training and upskilling of workers across sectors, a strong industrial strategy is crucial to managing change.
“All of this is of critical importance to our members and workers across the country. It is those workers who must be at the heart of our industrial strategy, not only so that we get the strategy right from the outset, but also so that we can invest and improve in industries, communities and workplaces across the country for future generations, and for the better.
“From educating and training our young people to equip them for the modern world of work to retraining and upskilling industrial workers to enable them to adapt to automation and industrial change, people must come first.
“When you look at the approach of successive governments to an industrial strategy, it is clear there has been a lack of worker voice. People need to be consulted on whether they feel their lives are better, whether their futures are more secure, and whether their work is good quality and meaningful to their daily lives. And it’s not just about asking the right questions: we also need to ensure that people are listened to. We need to have this listening approach in places across the UK, including in areas of the country where workers feel left behind, and feel a sense of injustice as a consequence.
“Above all, an industrial strategy must ensure it reflects how people feel about their work, skills and productivity. That means an industrial strategy that not only ensures our manufacturing sector can continue to compete in a global market, but one which allows workers to share in the rewards from increasing technological change and automation in their workplaces.
“At the heart of our discussion must be a conversation around the decline in trade union membership and therefore collective bargaining, looking at the impact this has had on workers’ productivity and wages. Government, employers and trade unions have a responsibility to ensure that the trade union movement not only survives as part of an industrial strategy but that it thrives in communicating with workers the benefits of trade union membership.
“People and Power – a new Changing Work Centre report – explores why our industrial strategy must be people-focused. In all of the contributions in the report, we see the need for practical, people- centred policies which could pave the way for economic growth and prosperity for our communities. So what should Labour’s response be? The collection gives us some pointers on where policymakers should go next and insights into the positive impact a people-focused industrial strategy would have on communities.
“A future industrial strategy will need to underpin economic growth. But it must go beyond that too, creating the conditions for success which benefit employees as well as employers. People are the foundation of our workplaces: let’s build our industrial strategy with them and for them.”
The People Power report calls on the government to put workers at the heart of its industrial strategy. #PeoplePower makes recommendations to address Britain’s flatlining economy & wage stagnation – you can read the report here.