Monks Shrugs off Blair 'Tiff'

The Birmingham Post (England), March 22, 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Monks Shrugs off Blair 'Tiff'


Byline: John Duckers

TUC general secretary John Monks has played down his recent tiff with Tony Blair over workers' rights as 'part of the banter of politics'.

'I dished it out so I don't complain when I get it dished back,' said Mr Monks in response to criticism from the Prime Minister who accused him of being out of touch with the modern world. Mr Monks had sparked the row by calling Mr Blair 'bloody stupid' for forging alliances with right-wing European Union leaders such as Italy's Silvio Berlusconi to block the extension of EU workers' rights.

But since then he has taken a more conciliatory approach, saying he was simply warning the Government it was in danger of losing its traditional support base if it did not take a step backwards, rather than making any threats.

'I am not out of touch - we are strong supporters of more flexible labour markets, more choice and more skills but also in some necesary protection for workers from time to time. The two are not contradictions,' Mr Monks said.

'We don't see flexibility as being employer-dictated, it cuts both ways for workers as well. That is the modern employment agenda.'

Having said that, tensions between the Government and unions remain over the treatment of staff who face having their jobs transferred to the public sector under the its controversial PFI private finance programme.

'Workers certainly don't want it if they face the prospect of losing their pensions and a week's holiday, as has been some of the experience in recent years,' Mr Monks said.

'I am reasonably pragmatic in that if it can be demonstrated that the private sector can do a better job than the public sector in some areas, then that's one thing. But an ideological preference - which I don't think the Government has but some people sometimes suggest it has - that is another thing.'

Even though the first few months of 2002 have been marked by train, postal and teacher strikes, Mr Monks dismisses any parallels with the notorious 'Winter of Discontent' of 1979 when a wave of industrial unrest brought down the Labour government of the day.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Monks Shrugs off Blair 'Tiff'
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?