Gordon Brown has caved in to unions, allowing a series of concessions - including an extension of the minimum wage - in a move that sent shudders through the business community.This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, of course. The unions are just about the only people in the country still prepared to put money into the Labour Party. Guido and Tim Worstall have been saying this for awhile now, among others.
Coming days after Labour’s humiliating defeat in the Glasgow East by-election, it also puts pressure on the Prime Minister’s weakened position.
Unions are confident of securing further concessions.This time, comrades. This time. What happens when the Gordon Brown ship continues to founder…?
One leader disclosed to The Times that ministers had agreed to another policy forum before the next election. “This is only half time, it is not the final whistle,” he said.
Business leaders gave warning that the measures, which include new rights to time off, would hit companies’ ability to compete during an economic downturn. Changes to the minimum wage in particular could cost businesses an extra £88 million a year.
The party also agreed to extend parental leave and to impose new limits on private contractors to the Health Service.
Officials negotiating on behalf of the party insisted that they had seen off the most controversial of the union demands, pointing out that there were no commitments to introduce less restrictive strike laws.