14 July 2015

Countries with Strongest Workers' Rights Have Higher Productivity Than UK


Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson has highlighted figures which show that countries ranked highest for workers’ rights also have higher productivity than the UK. These figures underline the folly of the UK Government’s plans to restrict trade union rights and strengthens the case for full powers over employment law being devolved.

According to OECD statistics the vast majority of EU countries, including Germany and France, ranked best by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) for workers’ rights have higher productivity than the UK. Eleven members of the EU are top rated for workers’ rights by the ITUC – the UK is ranked in the third highest category of country.

The UK Government announced in the Queen’s Speech that they would further restrict trade unions right to strike, reforms which Grahame Smith of the STUC has said will “leave Scottish workers as some of the weakest legal protections in the developed world.”

This also follows research highlighted by the SNP on Friday which shows that Scotland is leading the UK on R&D (research and development) spending through universities – highlighting the case for devolving economic powers to foster greater innovation.

Commenting, Stewart Stevenson said:

“The Tories' desperate claim that they are the workers' party will stick in the craw of working people in Scotland - where the Tories are scarcely anybody's party, having got their lowest share of the vote since 1865 at the general election. This is a government which has restricted access to Employment Tribunals and plans ballot rigging restrictions on the right to strike – it is no friend of working people.

“Now we know that their attack on workers’ rights is not just morally wrong but will also undermine economic progress and hamper efforts to tackle the UK’s poor record on productivity – something the Chancellor has supposedly made a key priority.

“We cannot allow the UK Government to damage industrial relations and hold back our economy in this way. The UK Government must listen to the calls made by the STUC and the Scottish Government for the devolution of employment law.

“With full powers over trade union and employment policy we can work more effectively in partnership with trade unions, the third sector and business to boost growth, to increase productivity, to support employment and to deliver more and better jobs.”

Productivity (as measured by GDP per hour worked in US Dollars for 2012) for EU members’ ranked in the top category for workers’ rights by the ITUC:

Belgium $61.80
Netherlands $60.20
France $59.50
Denmark $59.50
Germany $58.30
Austria $53.00
Finland $49.00
Italy $46.70
Slovakia $34.70
Estonia $27.80

UK - The UK is ranked in the third top category for workers’ rights and productivity is $48.50 as measured by GDP per hour worked in US Dollars for 2012.

OECD, 2014:

ITUC Global Rights Index 2015:

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