I agree with the amendments. Section 15 is causing problems for us, because obviously it deals with the articles of association. We notice that the Minister has not made provision for worker directors on the board. This is disconcerting to us in the light of the publication of the Worker Participation (State Enterprises) Bill. I do not know whether it has gone through the other House. In that Bill the Minister for Labour has made arrangements for An Post and Bord Telecom. He has also dealt with the question of worker directors in Bord na Móna. The Bill we are dealing with is, to some extent, related in one way or another. The need to extend the concept should be brought to the attention of the Minister for Labour. We hope the Minister will do that when the Bill is going through the House.
The concept of worker participation is a very interesting one. We are always worried about the number of man-days lost through strikes as we are always worried about industrial relations vis-a-vis other member states. Yet, when we get an opportunity to set up the machinery to allow us to do that, to take the bull by the horns and appoint worker directors to all State commercial companies we do not take it. The Minister will agree that what is important beyond all other considerations is the attitude of the parties in industry. We have to decide if we want harmony. We do not want antagonism or hostility. Very often, because people are not in a position to get the right information or to be briefed in a proper way, a lot of unnecessary conflict arises.
It is in the interests of all that there should be an extension of this concept to this board. I do not think it matters what policies or methods a Government follow in regard to production. It does not matter how well founded are their economic policies or social developments. They will be insecure if the relationship between the parties in industry are not satisfactory. The best way to remove fear and to have faith, if we are talking about involving workers is to have their representatives at the highest level possible so that they can get first-hand information and make a contribution based on their knowledge of the position on the factory floor. There may be an absence of expertise from the floor and is essential that the views of workers are heard.
All industrial relations are interwoven with community activities. Therefore, it is important that other members of the community from another walk of life should be appointed to this board to join the people appointed by the Minister. When it comes down to the question of attitudes, the whole matter of adjustment is involved. If there are workers' representatives at board level, then the whole question of adjustment can become that bit more realistic. The trade unions will have to agree to the procedures but the important point is the question of the attitudes of the board members to each other following the inclusion of workers' representatives at the highest possible level. They will bring their own expertise to the board and will get the proper information and transmit it accurately.
Down the years there has been talk about co-ordination of functions with regard to the question of workers or management boards. If we keep workers separated from this level of representation it will affect co-operation later. What we are seeking is co-operation by the parties to industry. It is nothing more than what human intelligence can stand to say that the worker should be represented at sub-board level. In this day and age when we have much more enlightened workers on the factory floor than ever before they should not get representation at that level. Since they are part of the community it is only common justice that they should get this representation at board level. The machinery is in position. I do not know if the Bill has gone through the Dáil but, certainly, it was passed by the Seanad. I cannot see why there would be any opposition to it.
A lot of complex problems will develop. Where human effort is involved many complicated problems can develop. As industry develops many complex problems arise. It is because such difficulties can arise that there should be co-operation and co-ordination of effort. Inevitably, there is a danger that such a process will fail and that the production will be inhibited or confused. It is a matter that should be given serious consideration by the Minister.
This is a question of a social service. The people appointed to the board, or who find themselves on the board through means other than the worker participation scheme should realise that they are there to perform a social service. I admit that it is a social service of the highest order. I will be the first to say that the people appointed will be quite capable people, the best that can be got. There is no doubt about that. In the long run, no matter who they are, no matter what degrees they hold, or that type of scientific methods they pursue to advance their careers, the fellow who has gone through the school of life on the factory floor, who mingles with his workmates at different levels, is the guy who will be able to pass on the proper information to the board members. He can, in fact, bring about greater co-operation and greater effort. We are in the business of trying to make a success of this. I do not think that the organisation in itself is a guarantee of success. It has got to have the right people to help it succeed. If there are representatives of the workers on the board I have a feeling they will make a good contribution. It is wrong not to have the concept of worker directors embodied in this Bill. We cannot hope for success simply by establishing the new company. We have got to work at it. Workers have to be asked to play their role and so on. Unless the proper attitude is adopted by all parties the right results will not be obtained.
We have an expert on industrial relations with us, a Senator who has written on the topic. I am referring to Senator Hillery. If Senator Hillery, or anyone else, considered the question of worker directors, would he take time to think about the concept that is in existence in Telecom Éireann, Bord na Móna and so on? He would have to say that the whole idea should develop in that direction. If it does develop in that direction we will have a better opportunity to get the mutual confidence and constructive goodwill that is needed. I hope that the Minister can come to terms with the question of appointing worker directors. I have no doubt that all aspects of industry must have this co-operation and co-ordination. The best way of getting the interweaving of human relations going is to give everyone equal representation at the right levels. The case has been made over the past 20 years or so that the appointment of worker directors is the way. We have had the Act dealing with worker participation in State enterprise and we have had the Minister appointing sub-boards.