We all lost out yesterday
14.03.12 - Helen Pearce
Yesterday, this Government pushed through a vote in a Committee of the House of Commons that will take away important rights at work from anyone who's been in their job less than two years, or anyone who might change jobs or start a new one in the future.
They have changed the rules, so that employees no longer have protection from being unfairly sacked until they’ve been in their job for two years. At the moment, those rights kick in when you’ve been in a job for a year.
The Government claims that this move will increase jobs, but there is simply no evidence to back this up. The Chief Economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development was quoted by one of the MPs in the debate. He said:
“If you look at the evidence on unfair dismissal, I mean there isn’t actually anything to suggest that watering down those rights would create any more jobs and indeed the job insecurity it would create would actually be bad for the economy and businesses.”
At the moment there are 3 million people who have been in their job more than one year, but less than two. Thanks to this Government, they are no longer protected from being sacked unfairly. That’s an awful lot of people who are losing this important right.
But although it is 3 million people who are currently losing that right, in reality any of us who will ever start a new job are losing out too. Trends show that people are increasingly likely to change jobs regularly over the course of their careers – if protection only kicks in after 2 years, then many people will spend a high proportion of their lives without the job security that is so important. Important to them, but also to the economy.
As Citizens Advice have said:
“Doubling the qualifying time for legal protection against unfair dismissal to two years will make the jobs of three million workers even more insecure than they are already. It’s nothing short of a charter for rogue employers.”
At the Committee yesterday, Labour MPs argued strongly against this right being taken away. Many Labour MPs came along to speak, even though they don’t have a vote on the Committee, because they wanted to have their say. But the Lib Dems and the Conservatives have an inbuilt majority, and the rule change was passed.
Before it becomes law, this measure has to be approved by the House of Commons, but there won’t be a debate, and given the Tory and Lib Dem majority in Parliament it’ll be almost impossible to stop.
This just goes to show the real agenda of this Government – Tories and Lib Dems alike. They’re actually using unemployment, caused by their failed economic gamble, as an excuse to attack the rights at work that ordinary people rely on. 3 million people are losing their job security right now – and no doubt that’s just the beginning of what this Government has in store.
The rights we take for granted, that we rely on, are in danger – it’s up to us to build a strong campaign to defend every one of them.
MPs who voted to remove protection from being unfairly sacked from 3 million people:
Aidan Burley, Conservative, MP for Cannock Chase
Helen Grant, Conservative, MP for Maidstone and the Weald
Sam Gyimah, Conservative, MP for East Surry
Norman Lamb, Lib Dem, MP for North Norfolk
Stephen McPartland, Conservative, MP for Stevenage
Tessa Munt, Lib Dem, MP for Wells
Sarah Newton, Conservative, MP for Truro and Falmouth
Dr Daniel Poulter, Conservative, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich
Craig Whittaker, Conservative, MP for Calder Valley
Jeremy Wright, Conservative, MP for Kenilworth and Southam
MPs who voted against scrapping this important workplace right:
Michael Meacher, Labour, MP for Oldham West and Royton
Jessica Morden, Labour, MP for Newport East
Paul Murphy, Labour, MP for Torfaen
Ian Murray, Labour, MP for Edinburgh South
Chris Ruane, Labour, MP for Vale of Clwyd
Andrew Smith, Labour, MP for Oxford East
Dave Watts, Labour, MP for St Helens North
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