Thursday, January 27, 2011

An attack on the rights of every worker

The Government want our views on how to simplify the resolution of workplace disputes, with a particular focus on how to "help businesses and social enterprises feel more confident about hiring people." (

Except that's a typo isn't it? They really want to help employers feel more confident about firing people.

Whilst we should no doubt respond to this consultation, we must be in no doubt that the Government's agenda is to attack what few legal rights we have in the workplace. They won't respond to force of argument so we'll need to mobilise the argument of force.

Employment tribunals are, of course, a weak and ineffective tool to secure redress for workplace injustice, and are in any case used insufficiently and inadequately by trade unions hobbled by the need for affordable indemnity insurance.

In too many cases however, they are all we have.

Which is why the Tories want to charge us a fee for daring to lodge a claim and to require us to have two years' service to complain of unfair dismissal.

As budgets tighten and redundancies pile up, many activists are reporting an increased appetite on the part of some managers for disciplinary and sickness dismissals (which save on redundancy costs).

In these circumstances, now more than ever workers need to hold on to the legal rights we have won - and our trade union leaders need to sound the alarm bells loud and clear so that our members are alerted to this attack on all our rights.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

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