UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Tory plan to remove employment protection must be opposed

In a fawning pre-conference feature in Murdoch's Sun, Chancellor George Osborne MP signals his intention to block workers from taking employers to employment tribunals for unfair dismissal until after two years of continuous service — it currently stands at one year. http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/politics/3847683/Chancellor-George-Osborne-strikes-back.html

The Tories crave the "employment at will" arrangements of US labour law where employers can hire and fire at will and workers have no employment protection.

Although Osborne's comments to the Sun betray his intellectual bankruptcy he doesn't conceal his intention to deregulate in favour of employers:

'The Chancellor said his war on red tape was inspired by pleas from bosses he met at a Sun employment meeting.

He dubbed the employment law move "a big change".

Mr Osborne said: "At the moment you get a one-year probation as such. We are now going to turn it into a two-year probation, coming from April next year.

"It is controversial and there are lots of politicians who would shy away from decisions like that.

"It will be opposed by the trade unions, I suspect."

But in a pre-emptive attack, he said: "We talk a lot about trade union rights — but what about the right of the unemployed person to be given a shot at a job and a career?

"What about the rights of people currently sitting at home with nothing to do, desperate to get work, but the business can't afford to employ them because they fear they are going to be taken to the tribunal?"'

Conservative ultras will no doubt cheer Osborne to the train shed rafters when he makes his announcement about the new laws at the Manchester conference centre.

Yet the anti-worker nature of the proposals will test the democratic and liberal credentials of their Liberal Democratic coalition partners in the months ahead.