The TUC and its two largest affiliated unions, Unite and UNISON, have formed a new shareholder voting group, the Trade Union Share Owners, which aims to put union values at the centre of corporate governance. This group has drawn up a set of policy guidelines and will work with the shareholder advisory group PIRC to ensure that their funds take a common voting position in accordance with those guidelines.
Focusing initially on FTSE350 companies, the guidelines contain a variety of policy positions including:
- moves to limit the growing gap in the pay of those at the very top and bottom of companies, with the aim of achieving a 20:1 pay ratio, and for pay increases to directors to mirror those being offered to ordinary employees;
- persuading all companies to become living wage employers on the basis that decent wages lower staff turnover and absence rates, and lead to a more motivated, productive workforce;
- encouraging companies that are keen to include worker representatives in their corporate governance structures;
- achieving a balance on company boards between executive and non-executive directors;
- at least a quarter of board positions to be held by women;
- all board vacancies to be advertised, rather than people simply being invited to join;
- a limit to the number of board positions that directors can hold. Where individuals are unable to devote enough time to their role, their re-election should be opposed.
These new guidelines can be viewed here.