You may not be aware of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.
It is the Coalition’s latest legislation against ordinary working people, currently moving through the Parliamentary process. Today (October 17) was the second day of the debate on its second reading.
The Bill contains some horrendous proposals that could seriously damage workers’ rights. Here’s the letter I wrote to my MP, pointing them out:
Dear Roger Williams,
I am writing with regard to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which, as I understand it, is likely to cause serious harm to the relationship between workers and (certain) employers if it ever becomes law.
Please do not support this Bill. I know this request puts you in a difficult position as a member of the Coalition, but if you cannot bring yourself to vote against it, at least don’t vote in favour of it.
If the Bill becomes law, it will diminish the rights of all employees in this country. The proposals it contains would reduce the amount of compensation payable to unfairly dismissed workers – and this comes after the time an employee is required to be employed before they are able to claim for unfair dismissal was raised from one year to two.
I understand the Bill also proposes to reduce protections for whistleblowers at work. This is completely wrong-headed as it protects abuses and attacks those who seek justice.
If the Bill is passed, it will allow employers to make minimal offers to workers to leave, then gag the same workers from even mentioning this at employment tribunal, even if they reject the offer.
It will leave thousands in fear for their jobs at a time when the government should be making it easier for firms to hire.
Not content with that, whoever drafted the Bill has included the abolition of the Human Rights Commission’s duty to promote a society free of discrimination. Why? Is that not something we should all be striving towards?
Is the government sending a message that it intends to promote intolerance against minorites – or, to give it its proper title, bigotry?
Do you want to be a member of a government of bigots?
The product of these complex clauses in the Bill, combined with the fact the Government are also going to start charging fees for employment tribunals, has been termed ‘Beecroft Lite’, as it virtually amounts to Adrian Beecroft’s call for ‘compensated no-fault dismissal’.
Many people will agree to a poorly-compensated ‘settlement agreement’ as, for many, accessing justice will seem too complicated and too expensive.
We already have millions of people out of work – this Bill will make it easier to fire people.
The working people of Brecon and Radnorshire rely on their rights at work to give security for them and for their family.
Please consult your conscience before voting on this Bill.
I will be very interested to see if he paid any attention to me. As he is a Liberal Democrat, and therefore a member of the Coalition, my hopes are not high.