Petition MPs on employment rights

19 September 2012

Mick Whelan, ASLEF’s general secretary, has urged union members to contact their MPs to ensure that they vote against a government proposal – contained within the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (ERR) Bill - to further limit employment rights in the UK and to water down the provisions of TUPE, the regulations that protects employees' terms and conditions of employment when a business is transferred from one owner to another.

‘The UK is already the third least regulated labour market in the world,’ Mick points out. ‘The last thing we need is more deregulation.’

The government began its attack on employee rights earlier this year when it doubled the qualifying period needed to claim unfair dismissal from one to two years. Business Secretary Vince Cable now plans to continue to make life at work more unstable with two new measures:

  • He wants powers to cap compensation awards when someone has been unfairly dismissed to a maximum of a year's pay (regardless of how much they have lost). The Law Society says this will ‘prevent a substantial number of claimants who have been unfairly dismissed from recovering their full losses’
  • He want to replace ‘compromise agreements’ with ‘settlement agreements’ which would allow employers to offer employees a pay-off simply because their face doesn’t fit. If the employee refuses, how comfortable is he or she going to feel at work afterwards? And for some bizarre reason, if all this led to a dispute at an employment tribunal, the employee wouldn't be allowed to mention that the employer had ‘offered’ the settlement agreement. It all looks like paving the way for ‘no-fault’ dismissal bribes.

New tribunal fees will also price many workers out of being able to take unfair dismissals to court – especially in non-unionised work-places. The effects will be to make it easier for employers to get rid of staff, and more difficult for workers to get a hearing for any grievances.

‘This is nothing to do with increasing job growth. It is rather an example of pro-employer prejudice against working people,’ says Mick Whelan. ‘If you, like me, think it is lucicrous to think that the way to a crisis of unemployment is to make it easier to sack people, then ask your MP to vote no to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill when it comes to the House of Commons.’

To act now, please use this link

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