Since 1965 there have been 30 Acts of Parliament concerned with some aspect of employment; 16 of these have been passed since 1970 and eight in the last two years. One piece of legislation in particular, the Employment Protection Act 1975, has brought fundamental changes in relationships at work. Never before in Britain has there been such an avalanche of industrial legislation. Still to come is the promised (threatened?) Bill on Industrial Democracy — itself likely to bring revolutionary changes in management practice and likely to be pressed through Parliament in a hectic rush to beat any impending change in Government — and there are sure to be any number of minor pieces of amending legislation tidying up after the current rush. This mass of legislation is today largely undigested, despite the fact that it already requires basic changes in company administration and practice. Passing laws, of itself, changes nothing: those involved have to learn how to operate properly in the new circumstances. What is called for now is an immense training exercise to inform all concerned what provisions the new laws contain and to teach people how to work within these new laws. This need applies to managers, foremen, trade union officials, shop stewards, certain functional specialists such as training staff and personnel staff, and, in a broader field, to employees generally. It's a pretty formidable training problem, taking account of the fact that the needs of each of these groups differ from group to group. In terms of sheer size and complexity this is today's number one untackled training problem, but I cannot trace any training board which has earmarked it as such nor can I find any pronouncement of the TSA on this vital topic. It can't stay this way for long: today there must be hundreds of managers breaking the law, unwittingly, every day.
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