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The land of learning: Industrial Society Manifesto

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“The central issue of work and the quality of work has failed to register on the radar screens during this election campaign. Over half the population goes to work and, on average, workers spend a third of their waking hours at work. It follows that work, should be considered, alongside education, health, crime and transport, as a key area we need to improve. In this election campaign it is the invisible issue”, says Will Hutton, Chief Executive of The Industrial Society in launching The Society’s Manifesto, Making Work Better.

He continues, “How work is organised is of fundamental importance to every citizen. Amongst the hue and cry of an election campaign we need to assert this truth and insert some ideas about how the cause of better work can be advanced.”

This is the first time the Industrial Society has launched a Manifesto as a way of contributing to a general election debate. The ideas and recommendations contained in it are not an exhaustive list of all that might be done but rather a focused selection of reforms and strategies which The Society believes are priorities for any incoming Government.

In short the Manifesto argues that the Government needs to raise people’s aspirations by developing world class primary, secondary, tertiary and workplace education and learning capabilities.

Second it needs to encourage a climate that creates and nurtures the ‘just companies’ that care about the ‘how’ as much as the ‘how much’ when it comes to profits – and the ideas range from a new Companies Act to improved information and consultation rights.

Finally the new Government needs to encourage workplaces that include rather than discriminate across the range of issues – age, gender, disability, ethnic background. There is a case for a standing Discrimination Commission that is a watchdog for all acts of discrimination.

As Will Hutton says, ” Some of the battle is about changing Britain’s business and work culture; but a precondition for that is a wider political recognition of the direction in which we need to move and potential government initiatives that might deliver the changes we need.”

The Industrial Society’s Manifesto can be downloaded from their website.

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