The attacks are coming thick and fast
24.05.12 - Helen
Yet again, I switched on the radio this morning to hear about another attack on our rights at work. I think this is the third in as many days…
This morning, it was the turn of the Free Enterprise Group – a collection of 40 backbench Tory MPs who have decided the Greek crisis is a good opportunity to have another pop at the rights that millions of ordinary people rely on. Have a look and see if your MP is a supporter.
They want to see the Government pull together a crisis plan to roll out in the event of “Eurogeddon” (presumably by this they mean “if Greece leaves the Euro”). Benefits will be frozen and workplace rights will be abolished for anyone working for a small business. The BBC are also reporting they want to see what sounds like a new category of employment - the Low-paid flexi-job, which would be “exempt from tax and many employment regulations.” Is it possible one of those employment regulations they’re exempt from would be the minimum wage?
Last week, we saw the Queen’s Speech outlining that the “Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill” would make changes to employment tribunals that will surely make it harder for working people to get justice in the event they are treated unfairly at work. Many people will have to pay fees of hundreds of pounds to get access to justice. This is on top of the Government’s recent changes which mean working people have no protection from being unfairly sacked until they’ve been with an employer for two whole years.
Two years of no job security every time you start a new job – how is that going to get people spending and growing the economy? It’s not. These changes will harm the economy, not help it.
And then on Monday Labour forced the Government to finally release the Beecroft Report, after months of delays. The published report was explosive enough, with its call for hire and fire at will. But it’s what was missing from the report that really tells a tale (a draft was leaked in full to the Telegraph at the weekend).
Adrian Beecroft, Tory Donor, Venture Capitalist, made his intentions crystal clear:
“the downside of the proposal is that some people would be dismissed simply because their employer doesn’t like them. While that is sad I believe it is a price worth paying…..”
It’s no surprise those words had disappeared by the time it was published – alongside the chapter on liberalising the laws on child labour!
Beecroft offers not a shred of evidence in his report. In fact, the words “research”, “evidence”, “study” or “statistics” do not appear a single time.
The Government’s own figures give the lie to the myth that employers are desperately calling for these changes. In a survey of Small Businesses conducted by the Government last year, 45% said that the state of the economy was their biggest barrier to growth. 12% said the barrier was access to credit. 10% cited taxation, 8% cashflow and another 8% competition. Just 6% of businesses said that the biggest obstacle was regulation.
This attack isn’t going to go away. We need to work hard to make people understand that the rights they rely on are at risk – before it’s too late.
We’re starting by asking people to tell their MP to say a resounding NO to the Beecroft Report, but this can only be a first step. If you have ideas for how we can build this campaign from here, please post them below – we have to be ready for what really is the biggest attack on our rights at work for a generation.blog comments powered by Disqus