WORKI.RS should force their employers to let them participate in the running of their firms. says a new discussion paper published this month by the Laity Commission*.
The paper is critical of initiatives by management which pass for industrial democracy but fail to involve the shop floor in the decision-making process of the company.
It emphasises the distinction between consultation and control, and says that as employers are unlikely to give up their power voluntarily. "we ought to consider why we are not urgently working towards a situation where the workers can extract tlw necessary concessions at the w orking level".
1 his should include not only the ability to block management but "the ability to force a realisation that nothing will be gained until the workers are at the very least involved in, and at the lower level actually given the initiative." The Paper examines the public image and the role of trade unions, and looks at current definitions of industrial democracy in the light of Church teaching.
11 stresses the Church's emphasis on work tis "a crucial factor in personal dex elopment" and says "To deprive a man of all control over what he does
to remove art essential means for his development and thus to offend his human dignity."
The heart of the question. says the paper. centres on "industrial democracy versus efficiency and profit' and it asks "What is so marvellous about our current version of capitalism? What precious freedoms does it enshrine that., it can justify the loss of human dignity in so many of the enterprises On which it depends?"
*Indu.strial DonocracT and the role td the Trade Cnions. Laity (.ottonls_ston, 3N-40 freleAton Square. London SW! V PI),