Tag Archives: proposed

Government to give employees a right to work from home – but are there strings attached?

This is home working: check out the complete lack of anything resembling a business suit, the face that hasn’t seen a razor in days, and the portrait of a CAT in a military uniform in the background. And at its height, This Site is read by 180,000 people in a day. No wonder I’ve got a manic grin all over my face.

On the face of it, this is an amazingly progressive move by one of the most regressive governments in UK history.

According to the Mail (and other news outlets), Boris Johnson is pushing forward with a 2019 Tory manifesto commitment to give people the right to work from home unless employers can demonstrate that office working is essential.

Consultation on the plan will take place over the summer, hopefully taking into account the experiences of firms whose employees have worked from home during the Covid-19 crisis.

A survey has shown that 71 per cent of firms found home working either made no difference to their productivity – or boosted it.

Labour has raised concerns over the plan.

In a comment, Angela Rayner said:

We cannot have one-sided flexibility that allows employers to dictate terms to their workers when it comes to flexible working arrangements.

The starting point must be a strengthening of workers’ rights on flexible working so that workers are not pressured or blackmailed back into unsafe workplaces.

From the Mail‘s article, that’s not what’s going on here. But I can’t advise anyone to trust the Tories to do the right thing, so we’ll have to stay sceptical until we can read the small print of the proposed legislation.

Personally, up until Covid, This Writer seemed to have a unique perspective on home working.

I quit the last newspaper to employ me as a staffer because I wasn’t allowed to work from home after the local office that was my base was moved from a barely-manageable 27 miles from home to a diabolical 41 miles away.

When the idea of moving the office’s location was mooted, I complained vehemently (although admittedly I wasn’t then the monster who writes for you today).

Because most of my stories were generated in the area where I lived, it meant I may spend a huge amount of working time on the road – time better-spent working on news stories.

I said the only way I would be able to carry on is if I worked from home four days a week (not five, because sometimes attending the office can be important).

It wasn’t until after the office move had taken place that I was told that this would not be permitted. The impression I had was that managers assumed I wouldn’t actually do any work without one of them looking over my shoulder.

So I quit. I leave it up to you to judge whether the collapse of the Mid Wales edition of that paper a few months later had anything to do with my departure and the reason for it.

Of course, all of the work I have done on Vox Political has been from home. It is now my main source of income and at one point last year I had nearly 180,000 hits in a day.

So, y’know, I’ve always been convinced that home working is not only possible, but profitable.

I’m glad Covid has demonstrated this more widely.

And I hope the Tory government recognises it in any legislation it brings forward.

Source: Shock plans to work from home forever: Ministers propose to make it illegal to be forced into office | Daily Mail Online

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Constituency boundary changes: Unfair, undemocratic and unlikely to be approved

Boris Johnson: This is probably what he looked like, the moment he realised his own party’s proposed boundary changes mean he would lose his seat.

One of the few joys of the years since the Conservatives tricked their way back into office is their complete lack of success at gerrymandering the boundaries of Parliamentary constituencies to suit them.

First they had to rely on the Liberal Democrats, who abandoned them when the Tories refused to support reform of the House of Lords.

Now they have to rely on the Democratic Unionists, who have never supported the Tory proposals.

The Tories are desperate to rig the next election as the average age of their party’s members is 72, and they have utterly failed to attract support from the young.

The revelation that Boris Johnson would probably lose his Parliamentary seat, if the changes go through, is a double-edged sword; some members of the public might support them for that reason – others might not.

Mr Johnson himself probably wouldn’t approve – and it seems a considerable number of his fellow Conservatives feel the same way.

And Labour?

Let’s see what Cat Smith has to say about it:

“Labour stands ready to work with all parties to ensure that a boundary review can go ahead in a way that benefits our democracy, not just the Conservative Party. However it has been clear from the start that the Tories have only been interested in their own political advantage rather than what is in the best interests of the country.

“To lose 50 MPs at a time we are repatriating powers from Brussels as we leave the European Union risks leaving the UK Government struggling to keep up with the day to day requirements of legislation.

“They need to drop their unfair, undemocratic plans, as well as ensuring the review is based on the most up-to-date register and that there is appropriate flexibility to take into account community ties and geography.”

Good points – especially concerning the fact that the proposals use an out-of-date version of the electoral register from 2015. Many more people have registered to vote since then – mostly spurred to do so by Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Labour leader.

So you can see why the Tories wouldn’t want to update their ideas.

It all boils down to mathematics – and the numbers are against Mrs May.

She doesn’t have enough support, even from her own MPs, to push through this legislation.

So This Writer reckons it will be shelved – again.

And anyway, who says we’ll have to wait until 2022 for the next election?

Revised proposals for the shape of parliamentary seats at the next general election have been published.

The proposed constituency boundaries in England, Scotland and Wales have been drawn up on the basis the total number of MPs will be cut from 650 to 600.

Parliament approved the principle of reducing the size of the Commons in 2011, intended as a cost-saving measure in the wake of the expenses scandal.

But it is uncertain whether the Commons will end up backing the detailed plans.

If they do so, the proposed new constituencies – recommended by independent bodies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland – will take effect in 2022, the scheduled date of the next election.

Prime Minister Theresa May is reliant on the support of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for getting legislation through the Commons after her failure to win a majority in June’s snap election.

The DUP opposed the last boundary review when it was put to a vote in 2013, while many Conservatives are thought to have reservations about the scope of the shake-up, which could lead to a scramble for seats as a host of constituencies are abolished.

Source: Boundary changes: Latest plans for Commons seats published – BBC News


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