Who took the Liberal out of the Democrats?
We might rather expect a Conservative Government to be biased towards Employers. So it should come as no surprise that the Government is proposing a new Employer’s Charter.
Some of the suggestions seem quite reasonable; Encouraging parties to resolve disputes between themselves by requiring all claims to be lodged with Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) in the first instance to allow pre-claim conciliation including settlements to be offered and speeding up the tribunal process.
However buried in the detail is a proposal to increase the period an employee gets his/her Employment rights from one to two years. For them any changes will become superfluous.
But then again this is supposed to be a Coalition Government between the Conservatives and, reputedly more progressive, Liberal Democrats. Being the minor partner perhaps the LDs are being ignored?
Well the Liberal Democrat Vince Cable and Business Secretary says: “Disputes in the workplace cost time and money, can affect morale, reduce productivity and hold back businesses. We often hear that knife-edge decisions about whether to hire new staff can be swung by concerns about ending up in an employment tribunal if things don’t work out.”
This is a bogus argument since, In reality, the present law of at least one years service providing employment rights is ample protection to an employer from employing someone totally unsuitable. Anyone with over a year’s service would certainly not be regarded (apart by Vince Cable) as ‘new’!
Just to turn the screw tighter the Coalition is proposing that sacked employees provide a financial ‘bond’ before they can apply to a Tribunal. Many low paid workers struggle to make ends meet and they simply have no savings to be used in this regard. The very workers that are most vulnerable would be the ones unable to take their case forward!
As (National) Liberals we reject these outrageous proposals and will support any campaign designed to resist their implementation. Sadly it seems the (social democratic) Liberals have lost their progressive zeal and now are becoming hard to distinguish from their Tory allies. Shame on them!
Date: January 31, 2011