BRITAIN’S economy could be boosted if trade unions gain greater powers, a major business figure has said.
John Mills, the founder of consumer goods giant JML, said the lack of respect for workers’ voices shown by companies in both Britain and the US had fuelled support for Brexit and Donald Trump.
He said the inclusion of workers on supervisory boards in continental Europe had played a part in stemming the rise of the populist right in recent elections.
But speaking of Britain, Mr Mills said: “There’s quite a feeling that the balance between the workforce and bosses is way out of whack.
“Part of what we’ve got [in the current political climate] is a rebellion against that … zero-hours contracts, the weakness of trade unions, employees at the mercy of particularly bad employers. People are outraged at the treatment at places like Sports Direct.”
Mr Mills, who is also a major donor to Labour, said party leader Jeremy Corbyn had done “quite well” in his positioning in the election campaign.
“A lot of what Jeremy Corbyn is advocating does refer to the disenchantment that the rich and big companies have got away with murder and need some comeuppance,” he said.
He said Mr Corbyn had been successful in making the case for public ownership to the public, but added that, in his view, it was not the most significant economic issue.
However, he said Labour had come across as “a bit inclined to oppose [Brexit] for the sake of opposing.”