TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This review may have been announced with great fanfare by the Prime Minister, but the delay in setting it up, the limited terms of reference and the exclusion of the promised consideration of employer behaviour, such as blacklisting, confirms that it was never anything more than a headline grabbing party-political stunt.”
The CBI have steered well clear of getting involved. The FT reported that they saw the review as “too transparently political”.
Bruce Carr will now lead the review on his own, supported by Whitehall officials, who will provide what the FT describes (according to insiders in Whitehall) “little more than legal advice”.
Carr’s review is expected to take six months and he will report to Vince Cable and the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude who limply said: “This Government’s long-term economic plan is building a stronger, more competitive economy’.
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS (Public and Commercial Services union) said: “This is far from an independent review, it’s a political stunt to try to undermine trade unions and our ability to campaign against rogue employers.
“Carr is one of the bosses’ QCs of choice who has carved out a career arguing against workers’ rights.”
Unite have described the review as a “cynical Tory attempt to divert attention from the cost-of-living crisis and the gross inequalities they have created – something strong trade unionism is needed to redress.
“The government is also worried because Unite is starting to use leverage campaign techniques to halt the sell-off of hospitals and other NHS facilities, and exposing the sleazy links between Tory MPs and private health care companies.
“Unite will shortly step up this campaign regardless, in order to save our NHS.
“The inquiry is to be headed by a lawyer with anti-union form going back years – Carr has publicly argued in favour of draconian laws against unions. No-one can place any trust in his objectivity. His only role is to rubber-stamp George Osborne’s campaign messages.”