Osborne’s dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law

In a return to the 1980s, employment tribunal changes came into effect last week that attack workers' rights and make it easy for bosses to fire staff at will.

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In a return to the 1980s, employment tribunal changes came into effect last week that attack workers’ rights and make it easy for bad bosses to fire staff at will.

Worried-workerThe government says the changes are part of a reform package that will “deliver direct net savings to business of more than £10 million a year with wider benefits to employers estimated at more than £40 million a year”.

However, they are nothing of the sort – this is a dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law – designed to make it harder for workers to seek redress at an employment tribunal and make it easier for bosses to sack workers at will.

The fact is many employers and their organisations have privately said they see no reason to change the law and it is not a top priority for business.

The Small Business Barometer commissioned by BIS and published late last year asked what the biggest obstacles to success were:

• 45% of small and medium-sized businesses cited the state of the economy;

12% said problems with obtaining finance from the banks followed by taxation, cash flow and competition;

• Only six per cent of small companies listed regulation as their main barrier to growth.

 


See also:

Cash for policies anyone? Beecroft, Wonga, millionaire Tory donors and slasher Osborne 30 Mar 2012

Osborne’s solution to unemployment? Make it easier to unemploy people 7 Mar 2012

Work will get more dangerous and more difficult this year 6 Jan 2012

Relaxing worker protection to boost employment belongs to the last century 16 Nov 2011

Raab’s attacks on workers’ rights are – surprise – based on no evidence 16 Nov 2011

Reducing job security won’t decrease unemployment 4 Oct 2011

Gideon’s grotesque attempt to blame workers’ rights for unemployment 3 Oct 2011


 

The changes now in force include:

• The qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal will rise from one to two years;

• Witness statements at tribunals can now be provided in writing (or taken as read) as opposed to the current rules where a witness reads their own statement – this is an important part of tribunal procedure giving the applicant an opportunity to explain their case personally;

• Judges will now be allowed to sit alone to hear a case, with no “wing members” – usually (but not always) a trade unionist and a representative from employers’ organisations giving much wider experience and balance.

• The maximum level for costs awarded to businesses winning a “vexatious tribunal claim” will rise from £10,000 to £20,000.

• Deposit orders required by claimants when a judge determines part of a claim is unmerited will increase from £500 to £1,000.

These are soley designed to deter workers from bringing employment tribunal claims against an employer.

In addition to the above, the government intends to publish the average value of awards and time taken to reach a hearing. Included in the guidance for tribunal application and response forms, this information will provide all parties with a greater understanding about what to expect from the tribunal process before they enter the system.

On top of all this, last month’s budget included commitments to “scrap or improve” 84 per cent of health and safety regulation as well as introducing sector-based reviews to ensure regulations are enforced in a way that results in the lowest possible cost to business.

The government says this is part of the “one in, one out” rule whereby a minister who wants to introduce a new rule which generates “costs for business” must first identify a corresponding cut in regulation elsewhere with the same value. Nowhere else in the world operates such as system.

These new rules will put the most vunerable workers at a severe disadvantage. Young people and women are less likely to build up two years’ service; unscrupulous and bad employers may use the new rules to lay off staff with less than two years’ service rather than following any proper redundancy procedure.

As Anna Jeevanjee, senior associate at Hogan Lovells, warned:

“A disgruntled employee who lacks the requisite service to bring an unfair dismissal claim might well decide to bring a claim for discrimination on grounds of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age or disability, or a whistle-blowing claim instead.”

These changes may appear to be minimal, but they take away employees’ fundamental rights to fairness at work and are ushering in another series of attacks on employment rights and Thatcher’s unfinished business.

 


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36 Responses to “Osborne’s dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law”

  1. Anonymous

    Compared to what?

    Ah yes. You must slave for the state. After all, the state is the minority, and the minority must get the biggest cut.

    Where is the right to strike against forced taxation?

  2. Blarg1987

    What does that have to do with employment law?

    And you can vote against forced taxation at an election 🙂

    But then how would you cover service costs?

  3. Michael

    Osborne’s dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law – //t.co/0kZ4sT0b

  4. BevR

    Osborne’s dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law //t.co/KhN6fyxl #democracybroken #corruption #enoughisenough #wrb #spartacus

  5. phil dodd

    Osborne’s dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law – //t.co/0kZ4sT0b

  6. Angus Carruthers

    Osborne’s dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law – //t.co/0kZ4sT0b

  7. paul and lynn hewitt

    Osborne’s dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law //t.co/KhN6fyxl #democracybroken #corruption #enoughisenough #wrb #spartacus

  8. UKEmploymentLaw

    Osborne's dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law //t.co/8PrZVkIX

  9. liane gomersall

    RT @leftfootfwd: Osborne’s dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law //t.co/E5Xh8ipj

  10. UKEmploymentLaw

    Osborne's dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law | Left … //t.co/3GKvd2IR

  11. Courtney Coriscouva

    Osborne's dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law: However, they are nothing of the sort – this is a dogm… //t.co/pQPxoMw0

  12. Brnch Sec Ruth H

    Osborne’s dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law: //t.co/Spghkmp7 by @TonyBurke2010

  13. Peter Langdon

    Osborne’s dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law: //t.co/Spghkmp7 by @TonyBurke2010

  14. JC

    Given your job, Tony, you will be aware that many employment tribunal claims made against small companies fail, costing all those involved more than it’s worth. If the claimant is on a “no win no fee” arrangement, they have no risk whereas the company has to pay whether they win or lose in terms of time taken, legal costs etc.

    What would be a fair system where each side takes equal risk? Do you actually want a fair system?

  15. BevR

    Osborne’s dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law //t.co/KhN6fyxl #democracybroken #corruption #enoughisenough #wrb #spartacus

  16. Anonymous

    JC,

    No win no fee only applies to the contracted firm and the applicant. In an unsuccessful claim, the applicant is not absolved from the costs of the proceedings nor those of the opposing party.

  17. Castle Associates

    Osborne’s return to the Thatcher era, is this the way employment law going? #HR #Employment # Tribunal
    //t.co/8eYqY9Up

  18. Selohesra

    Maybe its nostalgia in my old age but if only we had a Prime Minister like Thatcher again – none of the recent ones Tory or Labour have come anywhere near her

  19. UKEmploymentLaw

    Osborne's dogmatic return to Thatcher-era employment law //t.co/KVBOvvi2

  20. Anonymous

    Don’t be you applying reality to the Blagger me boy.

  21. Anonymous

    It’s taken you this long to realise that this bunch of showers have no principles?

  22. Blarg1987

    Although I understand your point, Thatcher did not think policies through i.e. Westandlands debacle etc and some of the consequences we are living with today.

    We need politican with strong will, but they have to be able to justify the choices they make to the electorate and ministers should be able to object openly to policy if they do not think if it is in the nations best interests.

  23. Selohesra

    Told you before – havent voted Tory for a long time and never been a member.

  24. Anonymous

    And I’ve told you before you sucking up to Tory policy makes your claim completely unbelievable.

    That you’re only waking up NOW to this bunch makes it even less so!

  25. Selohesra

    You no more know how I vote than about my tax affairs – why do you persist in making up false stories about me? – is it because you have nothing else to say?

  26. Anonymous

    It’s very obvious from your comments what you are, and I tracked down your RL ID aaages ago based on them anyway.

    I’m a researcher.

  27. Selohesra

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  28. Anonymous

    Exactly. So, keep on pretending, as I’ve said.

  29. WCllpEmployment

    [KD] Differing views on the changes to the tribunal system – positive views – //t.co/7MsReTMR cf negative views – //t.co/yQlOjEWe

  30. Selohesra

    Keep on lying – its all you have to offer

  31. Anonymous

    Denial as usual. Denial of everything and everything outside your views.

  32. Selohesra

    Denial as usual. Denial of everything and everything outside your views.

  33. Anonymous

    Frog, frog, croak.

    You can’t even be original, you’re a parrot for views one way or another.

  34. Selohesra

    Keep taking those tablets1 🙂

  35. Anonymous

    And then the social darwinist slurs start up again. Typical far right wing crap. Again.

  36. Anonymous

    Yep this is like the eighties but without Phil Oakey’s lop sided haircut..the business uber alles policy,the increase in crime and homelessness,the ever growing unemployment lines,the dogmatic government policies..which can be seen as success from the perspective of the 1% and dismal failure from the perspective of the rest.As for this policy of ignoring unfair dismissal ..well it’s grotesque..the clue is in the word “unfair”in the term “unfair dismissal”..This will do nothing to improve Britain’s dismal economic performance.

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