The Confederation of British Industry has warned the next government not to put the competitive edge of UK businesses at risk with excessive legislative controls on employee relations. In the run-up to the General Election, the CBI points to the introduction of the national minimum wage, the Employment Relations Act, and the signing of the EU Social Chapter as the biggest regulations of the labour market in 25 years. Pleading for a hands-off approach, it says there is neither need, nor scope, for further employment relations regulations, such as a statutory system of training or an annual increase of the minimum wage. Instead, the next government must create a flexible working environment. Key ingredients for what it describes as a healthy labour market are skills flexibility, functional flexibility ­ for example teamworking and multi-skilling ­ flexible working patterns like part-time or temporary work, wage flexibility and flexibility in taking on or shedding staff, as well as employee mobility. And it calls for reforms to employment tribunals which would cut the number of trivial claims to a minimum. Turning its attention to pensioners, it asks for measures to encourage a flexible retirement age ­ allowing older employees to draw a partial pension while working part time. And although the CBI welcomes the stakeholder pension regime, it is calling for small businesses to be compensated for the burden its administration has placed on them. Employees are the key source of any sustainable competitive advantage in the market, and investing in training is essential to business success, the CBI adds. Politicians must never again sign up to "old style" EU social directives which seek to regulate matters that are best handled at company level. {{PEOPLE MOVES }}