Headlines: April 7th, 2008

Politicians, leading academics and trade unionists will share ideas today on the development of improved public services. The Wales TUC and Cardiff University are bringing them for a conference designed to build on the Welsh Social Partnership Agreement.

The agreement, which was reached last year by the Wales TUC, the Welsh Assembly Government, NHS Wales, the Welsh Local Government Association and other bodies, set out proposals for how the workforce could be involved in the development of world-class public services. The Partnership includes learning, employment, organising, procurement and equality issues in the public sector. Today’s conference will take that forward by examining what working with government means for employees in Wales.

Derek Walker, Wales TUC Head of Policy and Campaigns said the event would be an important milestone for the public sector workforce. “As well as aiming to strengthen partnership working across the public sector in Wales, we are looking outward to share best practice across the UK nations and Ireland and improve how we work collectively here in Wales,” he said.

The conference will feature a series of workshops exploring elements of social partnership and delegates will have opportunities to discuss ways in which the Agreement can be taken forward. “In recognising the value of public sector workers as the cornerstone of developing better public services, the agreement is bringing key benefits on all sides, to staff, public sector employers and, crucially, to the many people who use our public services everyday in Wales,” Derek Walker explained.

Professor Edmund Heery from the Centre for Global Labour Research at Cardiff University said that in many European countries trade unions worked constructively with Government. “Working with the Welsh Assembly Government, trade unions in Wales cannot only improve conditions for working people but also improve the services to the public which many of their members provide,” Professor Heery added.