Duncan Smith reveals hope to bin workers’ rights in on-air rant

Last Updated: May 15, 2016By

160515 IDS workers rights

There was much more to former welfare slasher Iain Duncan Smith’s 10-minute meltdown on the BBC’s Sunday Politics, but let’s concentrate on the subject of the Mirror‘s headline: ‘flexible’ workers’ rights.

So let us be clear: When Iain Duncan Smith says workers’ rights should be “flexible”, he means employers and businesspeople should have the ability to restrict or eliminate those rights.

He does not mean workers should be able to expand their rights.

That’s why he said: “The Working Time Directive of itself gave little or no flexibility to business and to employers at the time [it was introduced].”

That’s why he said: “UK law would protect what we think is best for the workforce” [bolding mine].

He also rattled off some silliness about making sure the competition workers faced for their jobs was fair, without ever pausing to consider that removing protections for equal pay, paid annual leave and maternity pay would automatically make those jobs unfair.

It’s enough to make us think Iain Duncan Smith is no longer in his right mind.

But don’t be confused; he is.

Considering the weight of evidence against him over the deaths of benefit claimants, it seems possible he is simply trying to build a defence of mental ill-health in advance of any criminal court action (from, say, Scotland).

Cute – in the North American, rather than the European, meaning of the word.

Andrew Neil asked IDS to pledge to fight to protect the Working Time Directive, protections for equal pay, paid annual leave and maternity pay if we leave.

He doesn’t sound all that sure about it, saying : “All of these were accepted by my existing government, the Conservative government, and I believe strongly that there need to be protections for workers. All of these things in a democracy are debatable and debated.”

Pressed on whether he would protect them, he said: “As they stand right now, yes.”

But Mr Neil skewered him, noting that he opposed the EU social chapter in 1992, voted against the Working Time Directive in 1996 and the minimum wage and 1997.

After a couple of minutes of waffling about migration, he admitted: “The Working Time Directive of itself gave little or no flexibility to business and to employers at the time. It’s been in place and we have had to work with it. But the reality here is … that you protect the workforce, but you make sure that the competition that they face in terms of their jobs is actually fair competition and not unfair competition.

Asked again, if the Working Time Directive was safe, he sounded a lot more shaky than in his initial answer: “UK law would protect what we think is best for the workforce, and that’s exactly right. You’re a democratic government. The democratic government will decide what it thinks is right. That is possible for Labour or Conservatives to argue and debate.

“I believe that it’s right to have it, but the question is how flexible you are over the way it’s operated.”

Source: Iain Duncan Smith says workers’ rights should be ‘flexible’ after Brexit in epic on air tantrum – Mirror Online


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  1. Nick May 15, 2016 at 9:51 pm - Reply

    if you were a honest man you would say things like that workers would be protected form shady business practices and that letting agents would all have to be regulated so that both Tenants and Landlords were being financially protected and therefore that would ensure that evictions from badly maintained dwellings would cease

    these are the sort of things the public should expect from politicians clear and concise messages full of hope for the future

    not like what IDS is saying which is the complete opposite from my view point

  2. autismandate May 16, 2016 at 5:34 am - Reply

    He will destroy you only if you let him, just say no thank you.

  3. Justin Greenwood May 16, 2016 at 6:49 am - Reply

    he is one person that is not to be trusted, he actually makes osbourne a angel and to get that from me is hard kudos, hopefully the Black Triangle prove they have a case and it is pursued by scottish law, we don’t need a prison sentence though that would be nice, a criminal record is good enough to stop a MP being a MP and lets be honest if you take a complete look at the ragtag brigade in brexit, the majority of them have come from the IDS Clone shop and Europe maybe expensive and could be a costly mistake to stay in, but there is European protection of laws whereas if this person had his way we be looking at a victorian workhouse

  4. Rupert Mitchell (@rupert_rrl) May 16, 2016 at 7:17 am - Reply

    I regret that the only comment I can make is that “in view of Mr. Smith’s past behaviour towards sick and mentally people on benefits, I would not put any faith in his idea of fairness what-so-ever.

  5. casalealex May 16, 2016 at 7:24 am - Reply

    IDS is a delusionist – someone who is a master of their own delusions to the point where they exist in the dual planes of true and false realities, often exhibiting extreme mood swings resulting from the conflicts of planar coexistence and living in an impenetrable state of constant denial.

    No way could anyone be accused of IDS bashing. This megalomaniac brings it on himself, when he blatantly laughs in our faces, as he wastes millions of taxpayers’ pounds on his catastrophically ill-conceived and diabolical policies. His name has gone down in the annals of infamy!

  6. Kath May 16, 2016 at 10:14 am - Reply

    When as IDS ever been right in his head? it’s astonishing that he’s still breathing

  7. Ian Biddle May 16, 2016 at 10:53 am - Reply

    can’t stand IDS, but this hardly constitutes a “rant”.

  8. Pippa Hurley May 16, 2016 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Very good article. Shows damn well why we need to stay in! Why the hell then is there a nine foot high advert immediately beneath to Vote Out?!

    • Mike Sivier May 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      Is there?
      If so, that’ll be Google AdSense being less than sensible.

  9. Alan Bowring May 16, 2016 at 12:05 pm - Reply

    The NAZIS are NOT coming here, that is alarmist talk. They are already HERE, and THAT is a scary fact!

  10. NMac May 16, 2016 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Duncan-Smith is pure unadulterated evil.

  11. Charles Fulford May 16, 2016 at 2:16 pm - Reply

    The statement ” “The Working Time Directive of itself gave little or no flexibility to business and to employers at the time ….” says it all and nullifies anything he or the Tory Government/Labour Brexits put out about. I don’t believe that coming out of the EU would enhance any of our rights but merely give the Tories the chance to rewrite a ‘Bill of Rights’ that would seriously push back all fought for rights we currently have even further back. Judging by what they’ve done to date we wouldn’t stand a chance if given free reign!

  12. mrmarcpc May 16, 2016 at 2:27 pm - Reply

    A loathsome, odious, little creep of a man, he wants to leave the EU and so help his tory mates impose further watering down of worker’s rights and rights in general and further cut benefits again, he in a complete and utter scumbag who deserves a really good arsekicking!

  13. Malcolm Harrison May 16, 2016 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Stay or you will be a slave to these Bastards.

  14. chriskitcher May 16, 2016 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    …And all this from an idle little sh*t who has never done a decent days work i his miserable life.

  15. David Penson May 17, 2016 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    How this Idiot ever got to be a Government Minister in the first place is beyond me , watch as his statements become ever more desperate the nearer we get to the EU vote on 23rd June, is it not about time somebody looked at his appalling mismanagement of the Department of Work and Pensions and asked some searching questions as to his role in the Failed IT projects and the Fraud going on within companies contracted to the Department under his watch, I know the real reason you resigned Mr Smith and so do you. David Penson.

    • Justin May 20, 2016 at 5:50 pm - Reply

      totally agree and let’s hope the scottish police and there legal system do, this person needs quality time at her majesty pleasure, perhaps he could implement there queens speech policies while he is inside, i am sure that the prison community would welcome him with open arms and see the breath of fresh air that is going to show them the new system, whole he languishing inside hopefully more charges will come and he can carry on these important reforms inside, a importanrt milestone in a goverment learning curve and the ones that were with him on this policy and ignored the coroners report they should join him in this wonderfull career move inside hmp to better the system

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