Responding to the speech Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy said:
“This attack on unions by the chief secretary to the treasury is a new low in hearing ill- informed opinion from the ill- equipped to comment. These remarks are totally divisive and if they represent the real heart of Treasury thinking, shows no understanding of the positive role unions have in the workplace.
“If the government are serious about making sure our professions open to new talent, instead of flirting with scrapping professional qualifications and deregulation, they should be listening to trade unions who do so much to promote diversity across the economy.
“Whether it is in nuclear engineering, environmental protection or the film industry, highly qualified Prospect members and reps are not enemies of enterprise; they are the platform for prosperity. Attacking their rights and professional standards to promote free market dogma will not liberate our economy, it will lower standards, make workplaces less safe and undermine our professions.
"This really is opinion untroubled by fact.”