Comments are closed. Education for all is the key to freedomOn 9 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article I have stared in amazement at my television, just like you, appalled by thedisplay of fanaticism that murdered thousands of people from dozens ofcountries in the World Trade Center attacks. First of all, it places our differences in industry in proper perspective.Fanaticism of any sort, in the end, is counterproductive to the ends it claimsto serve. It makes me proud to be a step-by-step man, a wishy-washy Fabian and proudto agree with Albert Camus, the French political philosopher, who wonderfullyremarked that he would jump at the opportunity of joining a political party forthose of us who are not quite sure. For everyone in industry, the shadow of the international coalition againstterrorism hangs over everything. But life must go on. There is a key issue thathas been concerning union opinion this month. Is it still possible to sustainthe rate of progress for employees without more law? On several fronts –extending workplace education, consulting and informing the workforce andmodernising public service management – the need for more legislation is on thelips of progressive opinion. And yet red tape is a reality for so many businesses and public authoritiesalike. We are all familiar with the small business complaints of endlessform-filling and persecution from public officials. I am not sure how manyrealise just how stupid it is in public authorities to have so much resourcesquandered on audit trails. So much investment everywhere is diverted fromimproving the quality and quantity of the product into assessing, monitoring,reporting and publicising what has been done. This polemical point would have even more effect, however, if companiesbehaved themselves voluntarily. Can’t they consult with their workforce withoutthe intervention of the EU convention? Can’t they see trade unions as partnersrather than enemies within? Can’t they understand that when workers know whatis going on they work harder, better, longer? We need to change a culture that reflects employers’ appalling lack ofaspiration in upskilling their workforce. Employees are being encouraged byindividual learning accounts, Learndirect, and the Union Learning Fund to lifttheir expectations of themselves. Does it need legislation to make employerslet people go to courses? Does it need monitoring, assessing and threatening tomake employers see that vocational education is the key to their liberation aswell as their employees’? World-class management is needed in small companies and public services andis increasingly available. We should not have to use the law to liberate usfrom our past. It would be best to work together – voluntarily, step-by-step,as equals. The poverty of aspiration should concern us all. By John Lloyd, National officer, the Amalgamated Engineering and ElectricalUnion Related posts:No related photos.