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May wrong to forget workers on boards – new research from CLASS

May wrong to forget workers on boards – new research from CLASS

Over a year since Prime Minister Theresa May pledged to stand up for workers and curb excessive pay, the Centre for Labour and Social Studies (CLASS) reveal why the wait for workers on boards must end.

On the eve of May’s leaders speech at conference, new research from think tank CLASS shows that the ‘embarrassment factor’ is significant for bosses when arguing for bonuses and higher pay packets when there are employees in the room. Having workers on company boards curbs management pay rewards and improves terms and conditions for staff, yet the government’s promise to take action on this and overhaul corporate governance has failed to materialise.

Dr Faiza Shaheen, the Director of CLASS, said: “The Prime Minster has paid nothing but lip service to working people. CEO’s are receiving bumper pay packets while public sector workers feel the impact of real term cuts. To improve their long term prospects, workers need a greater voice but have only received empty promises. The sad fact is that since May took over the reins, workers have even less say in the workplace."

CLASS have found that:

  • The ‘embarrassment factor’ of having to argue the case for higher pay packages for executives with employees in the room restrained senior management pay rewards;
  • Workers on Boards (WOBs) have had an impact on improving terms and conditions for staff, and have been able to ensure decisions are made with worker wellbeing in mind;
  • WOBs believe their position would be meaningless if there were not trade unions present in their workplaces. This means they are democratically elected and have to answer to members;
  • WOBs participation on company boards makes their relationship with management more effective. WOBs also reported they’ve helped to improve their trade union’s relationship with managers


For more information and to arrange an interview with Dr Faiza Shaheen in Manchester please contact Clare Hymer on 020 7611 2571/07903 809 239 or

Notes to Editors

- Report