Following a series of corporate governance scandals which involved exploitative treatment of workers, reforms were introduced to the UK’s corporate governance system in 2018, presented both as an attempt to rebuild trust and to afford a stronger voice for workers in that system. This paper explores the new landscape from a workers’ voice and protection perspective. It highlights that, while corporate governance has a role in ensuring workers’ needs are met, there is a tension between the goals of any reforms in this territory: board-level employee representation could be seen as a way of democratising the economy and valuing the part played by labour in that process, but it could also be seen as a way of increasing corporate value, economic performance or employee motivation, and disregarding the implications for labour. It is argued in this paper that worker protection requires a more genuine workplace democracy with full involvement of trade union representation. This would also help to broaden the corporate governance framework’s horizon towards a more genuine stakeholder vision beyond the existing tokenistic legal and regulatory nods in that direction.
Bibliographical noteThe acceptance date for this record is provisional and based upon the month of publication for the article.
- corporate governance, trade unions, employee voice, Corporate Governance Code