21 November 2012
Since the Coalition took power, we have been fighting their ideological campaign against employment rights. They see rights as red tape. We see rights as offering a fundamental safety net for workers facing an unequal power relationship with employers.
When representatives of big business complain about “the cost” of providing their employees with a safe workplace, a comfortable wage and job security, the government jumps at the opportunity to make more cuts to employment law at the detriment of workers and with only profit in mind.
On Monday (19 November), Business Minister Michael Fallon took another step in this regressive direction by announcing a new “One-in, Two-out” policy, further details of which will be released in the Autumn Statement.
In 2010, the government put in place a “One-in, One-out” policy on regulation, which means whenever the Coalition introduces new regulations that affect businesses financially, they have to scrap a previous regulation, estimated to cost a similar amount. This way, the government promised businesses would not be hit financially by their reforms.
Since then, the vulnerability of workers has been increased, first by the introduction of harsher tribunal procedures, and second by the drastic stripping of health and safety law enforcement. There have since been threats to take away even fundamental rights like unfair dismissal and redundancy rights.
But this is not enough for the government, which has now promised to double its pace. Now when Ministers wish to introduce a new regulation, they must identify not one but TWO existing regulations to cut. This provides a double whammy for employers who not only receive twice the level of financial “savings” but also imposes twice the level of insecurity on workers.
Nowhere in the government’s press release on this issue were the rights of workers mentioned, although they did find space to boast that their moves to make it harder for employees to take their employers to tribunal could save businesses £40 million per year, while thousands of companies will no longer be subject to proactive health and safety inspections from April 2013.
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