Today's announcement of a halving of the statutory minimum consultation period on mass redundancies is a case in point (http://news.bis.gov.uk/Press-Releases/Boost-for-business-as-government-sets-out-plans-to-update-employment-legislation-68512.aspx?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bis-news+(BIS+News)).
The 90 day consultation period when consulting on more than 100 proposed redundancies is set to be halved - bringing our P45s 45 days nearer in such circumstances.
The cases of workers whose fixed term contracts expire and are not renewed are also to be excluded from the consultation provisions - and we'll need to watch carefully how that is done (and whether there is scope for legal challenge in Europe).
Having spent time most days since the last General Election (as many before) engaged in redundancy consultation at the sharp end, I can say that this measure to limit redundancy consultation will serve simply as a licence for poor employers to drive down standards of good practice.
Meaningful consultation, with proper consideration of the responses to consultation, takes as long as it takes - and if trade unions are to come up with alternatives to throwing our people on the scrap heap - we need to take that time. The case law definition of meaningful consultation is not changed by this announcement of course, and union reps must certainly not become more timid in response to this deeply reactionary step.
Good employers, with collectively agreed redundancy procedures which embody current legal provisions, should stand firm and - in particular - Labour-controlled employers (in local government) should pledge to continue to observe a minimum 90 day consultation period when proposing 100+ redundancies (though of course what we really want from Labour employers is that they stop making redundancies and work with the trade unions to develop a political strategy that will deliver redundancy notices to the Ministers spearheading this further attack upon our rights!)
Incidentally, little known LibDem stooge of the Tories, Jo Swinson, who announced this assault upon workers rights, in order to appease the Institute of Directors and other swivel-eyed elements on the foaming-at-the-mouth right-wing, once founded and chaired the All Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics.
Perhaps that's why she wants to make it quicker and easier for bosses to liberate some of us from the curse of wage slavery?
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