Unions 'Strike Out' At Reform Proposals
The TUC has rounded on proposals to reform trade union laws, claiming they would weaken union members' voices and potentially risk escalating disputes.
The changes recommended by business lobby group the CBI include allowing employers to offer pay settlements directly to workers to resolve long running rows.
It also called for statements from employers and unions, along with the full consequences of any industrial action, to be placed on ballot papers.
The CBI argues the laws, which have changed little since the 1980s, fail to reflect the modern workplace and too often empower union leaders at the expense of staff.
CBI deputy director general Neil Bentley said it was right that firms be allowed to offer pay settlements directly to their staff, claiming unions were too often "obstructing" a reasonable deal.
"These changes are simple, and would underpin positive improvements in the way that employers, unions and employees work together, leading to closer cooperation and engagement.
"Like the changes of behaviour the new employment relationship requires of employers, they will put the ordinary member in charge."
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "The TUC has always been in favour of better regulation to reduce red tape for unions and promote greater workplace democracy.
"One obvious way to do this is to enable electronic voting in ballots, but the CBI is curiously silent about this idea.
"Another is to review the laws that stand in the way of union members deciding democratically to take industrial action as a last resort, such as the unnecessary technical requirements that provoke unfair intervention from the courts.
"The CBI proposals would actually weaken employees' voice, and some would make employment relations at sensitive times much harder to handle."