Worker Board Representation In UK Corporate Governance Plans


Worker board representation in UK corporate governance plans

LONDON, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 30th Nov, 2016 ) : British private companies would need to include worker and consumer representation on the board and be forced to publish their pay gaps, in government proposals outlined Tuesday, despite concern from big business.

The ideas were among plans to reform corporate governance, unveiled in parliament by Business Secretary Greg Clark. The consultation document on governance rules for large private firms follows the widely-criticised collapse of retailer BHS.

Designated non-executive directors could speak for consumers and workers on company boards, or on advisory panels set up to convey their views, according to the proposals. Shareholders could be given a binding vote on executive pay levels, with companies required to publish the scale of disparity between chief executive pay and that of regular staff members.

Private firms could also be held to the governance rules standards of publicly-listed companies. "The document asks whether there are measures which could increase the connection between boards of directors of companies and their employees and customers," Clark told MPs.

The government paper also puts forward plans to see large private companies report on a wide range of issues such as diversity and their environmental impact. Clark said other reforms addressed the fact that "executive pay has grown much faster over the last two decades than pay generally and at times is not in line with corporate performance".

Prime Minister Theresa May hit out at what she called an "irresponsible minority" of businesses acting recklessly.

"For people to retain faith in capitalism and free markets, big business must earn and keep the trust and confidence of their customers, employees and the wider public," she said.

- 'Heavy-handed regulation' - ============================= "In recent years, the behaviour of a limited few has damaged the reputation of the many. It is clear that something has to change." The proposals are open for consultation within parliament and publicly.

Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said while there was an appetite from companies to see action on those who behave badly, "there is also concern that heavy-handed regulation could reduce investment or create significant costs for firms".

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said the proposals were "disappointing and will not do enough to shake-up corporate Britain. "We need the voice of elected workers in the boardroom, rather than on advisory panels." The new plans follow the collapse earlier this year of department store chain BHS, which cost 11,000 jobs and left a #571-million ($709-million, 668-million Euros) deficit in its pension fund.

The retailer had been sold in 2015 by tycoon Philip Green for #1 to Dominic Chappell, a former bankrupt businessman with no retail experience. Earlier this year, retailer sports Direct also came under scrutiny for its working practices, using zero-hour contracts which do not guarantee work but require employees be available for shifts.