Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

David Cameron's war on workplace rights sparks rift in Coalition

David Cameron
David Cameron

The Government is set to curb some workplace rights in an attempt to cut red tape for business and boost Britain's anaemic economic growth levels.

The consultation period when 20 or more redundancies are announced could be reduced from 90 to just 30 days to give companies more flexibility to cut jobs — a move that will be opposed by trade unions.

After lobbying by business leaders, the number of cases going to employment tribunals will be cut. And David Cameron is backing a controversial proposal to allow firms to sack poorly performing staff without an explanation.

The idea, proposed in a review for Downing Street by Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist and Conservative Party donor, has run into strong opposition from the Liberal Democrats and has caused a rift at the senior ranks of the Coalition.

Nick Clegg and Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat Business Secretary, insist there is no evidence that ending unfair dismissal claims would help the economy.

The deadlock between the Coalition parties means the plan is unlikely to go ahead immediately. Instead, further work on its impact will be commissioned.

Mr Beecroft proposed that companies be allowed to dismiss “coasting” workers without being taken to an employment tribunal — provided they were paid compensation.

Factfile

Under proposals in the Beecroft report, the concept of “unfair dismissal” would be scrapped and workers would only be able to take a firm to an employment tribunal for discrimination. Instead they would be paid normal redundancy — without the need for firms to prove a worker was surplus to requirements.

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