An alliance between the Trade Union Congress and the private equity industry would seem unlikely, particularly since the TUC has publicly characterised private equity buyout companies as "amoral asset strippers after a quick buck."  Stranger things have happened, though, and it now seems that the private equity sector in the UK is seeking a closer relationship with the TUC.  British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association chief Mark Florman has been in talks with TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady in the hope that the two groups can work in concert on issues such as working conditions and compensation.

The British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association allowed a spokesperson to divulge information about the meetings: "We had a productive meeting with the TUC at the end of last year when we discussed shared points of interest.  Obviously we're hoping to build on this but there isn't anything more formal in place at the moment."  For its part, the TUC added that it has a practice of maintaining a regular relationship with business organisations.  The TUC statement contained no indication that it was planning any joint activities with private equity organisations. 

The relationship between private equity and union groups has certainly been contentious in the recent past.  Unions have been doubtful about the benefits of a buy-out model; at times, they have even been distrustful of wealth itself.  In a famous incident, unions walked a camel along the outside of a church to demonstrate the Biblical adage about the difficulties associated with a rich man being able to enter heaven. 

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