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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - December 18, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 50 THE LETK3RIDGE HERALD Wednesday, December 18, 1974 oi kers share of responsibility in determining work patterns suggested VANCOUVER (CP) The president of the Employers' Council of British Columbia says B.C. should experiment with giving workers a share of responsibility in determining work patterns. William Hamilton said in an interview that under such an experiment financing and achieving production goals should remain the responsi- bility of top management. Mr Hamilton recently re- turned from Scandinavia where joint action of manage- ment and worker representa- tives is often used to set com- pany policy where the welfare of employees is affected. He said he was impressed by the comparatively low in- cidence of labor strife and lower job turnover. Mr. Hamilton said work labor-manage- ment groups in factories- have been informally carried en in the Scandinavian coun- tries for some time but now Sweden, after 30 years, is planning to introduce legisla- tion making them official bod- ies. "Such a method of jointly programming work may pro- vide an answer to worker alienation from the job which seems to be internationally prevalent at he said The key to such labor rela- tions in Scandinavia is co-op- eration, he said. "Indeed, both sides there believe government inter- vention was the ultimate dis- aster and that legislation should merely reflect that a broad general agreement al- ready has been reached be- tween the parties directly concerned." Mr. Hamilton is a former postmaster-general in the Diefenbaker Conservative government, and former president of the Vancouver Board of Trade. He said that the work coun- cil concept in Scandinavia has developed to the extent that there is worker representa- tion on boards of directors, particularly in Norway. Between a board and top management is a company council with one-third repre- sentation elected by the work- ers and two-thirds by the shareholders. Mr. Hamilton said this 'group chooses the board of di- rectors and has the right over major expenditure decisions and those regarding person- nel. "Representation on the boards has helped commu- nications but neither side feels they are really signifi- cant in the industrial demo- cratic said Mr. Hamilton. "Worker representatives on' boards are often criticized by the workers themselves be- cause of inadequate reports of company he said. Mr. Hamilton also said that "apart from generalized dis- cussions, management re- mains free to make decisions including how much attention to pay to these councils." But now in Sweden, after years of development, several legislative committees in the last three years and a royal commission, the country is planning soon to introduce legislation to make the work council an official body. The legislation will require every company to accept the right of its work council to de- cide how the work in that en- terprise will be done, and what demands will be made on the workers. "Everybody agrees it will be one of a very few pieces of labor-management legisla- said Mr. Hamilton. Functions which were once the responsibility of manage- ment will, with the new legis- lation, become the responsi- bility of joint councils. "Up until now management has had the right to make the final decision in running an operation. Management will no longer have the sole right to determine how the work will be said Mr. Ham- ilton He said he understands the system will be designed to es- tablish working patterns to suit individual industries. Mr. Hamilton said he toured Scandinavia on his own because he had felt for some time he wanted to see how the system there worked and whether it could be trans- lated into a form which would work in B.C. He said there is almost no legislation in Scandinavia re- garding labor relations Sears Shop early for best selection Some Quantities Limited-Personal Shopping Ends Saturday, P.M. 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