Employee share ownership – open letter to Vince Cable and Nick Clegg

We, the undersigned, are extremely concerned by the employee share ownership policy. We call for this bill to be amended to remove the part where workers have to give up their rights for share-ownership and, rather, for the proposal to mirror that agreed by the Liberal Democrat conference in this document.

The proposal appears to allow for workers to give up their rights in return for company shares, as detailed on the HM Treasury website:

Under the new type of contract, employees will be given between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares that are exempt from capital gains tax. In exchange, they will give up their UK rights on unfair dismissal, redundancy, and the right to request flexible working and time off for training, and will be required provide 16 weeks’ notice of a firm date of return from maternity leave, instead of the usual eight.

From this we understand that as few as £2,000-worth of shares will potentially give employers the ability to fire workers at will, where the worker has absolutely no rights and has to sell the shares back to the company when they leave, and where the company can determine the value of those shares.

The model is recommended for start-ups and small companies. Their shares are unlikely to be traded and, so, have no clear value. How is an employee to judge the fairness of the offer, let alone be able to dispose of them with confidence in the value? It seems that the workers would give up significant rights, whereas the employer has nothing to lose – they get rid of an employee they don’t want without any comeback or legal challenge, and also get their shares back at a price they can determine.

We have been told that employee owner status will be optional. However, it seems that this could be made compulsory for future employees in current and new businesses.

The HM Treasury website continues:

Employee-owner status will be optional for existing employees, but both established companies and new start-ups can choose to offer only this new type of contract for new hires.

The power of an employer, with a job market such as we have today, should not be dismissed lightly. Potential employees do not have the luxury of a wide choice of potential vacancies.

The Liberal Democrat Party Constitution states:

Liberal Democrats are committed to fostering a strong and sustainable economy which encourages the necessary wealth creating processes, develops and uses the skills of the people and works to the benefit of all, with a just distribution of the rewards of success. We want to see democracy, participation and the co-operative principle in industry and commerce…

We believe this policy goes against not only Liberal Democrat principles, but principles of decency and honesty in the workplace.

With a loss of rights, the employee will be in a more unstable employment situation, which can only decrease confidence and spending, which our economy desperately needs if it is to grow successfully.

This bill appears to be the Conservative party’s way of getting “fire at will” through the back door. After the work to stop this going through via the Beecroft recommendations, isn’t it hypocritical to allow the potential for it in this bill?

There is no doubt that some unscrupulous companies will abuse this and employees will lose hard won rights. What employee would want, voluntarily, to give up these rights, for any amount of money? Please either pull or amend this proposal.

Paul Wild, Walsall, Membership and Communications Officer.
Tracy Connell, Newcastle City Party, Regional Officer and local part Exec.
Kevin White, Liverpool Wavertree. Footsoldier and former Constituency Chair.
Gareth Jones, Maidenhead
Penny Burgess, Cotswold
John Richardson, Newark
Councillor Alasdair Christie, Inverness
Malcolm D Gardner, St Austell & Newquay (formerly Twickenham!)
Natasha Chapman, Lincoln, Chair of Lincoln Liberal Youth
Cllr. Michelle Pearce, Calne, Wiltshire
Gareth Loveridge, West Bromwich and Warley
Joshua Dixon, Hillingdon and London Liberal Youth Vice Chair.
Adam Gillett, Tower Hamlets. Former Chair of London Liberal Youth.
John L Oakes, Former Haringey Councillor, Founder, LibDem Friends of Poland; activist.
Alan Webb , Amber Valley , activist.
Gemma Roulston, Reigate member and also membership secretary of LDDA
Ian Wallace South East Cambs
Fiona White, Guildford Constituency, Deputy Leader Surrey County Council Lib Dem Group.
Richard Hudson, executive member of Derby City
Matt Downey, Cambridge
James King, Southport.
David Parkes, Local Party: Brussels / Treasurer Lib Dems in Spain.
Peter Reisdorf, Wirral West.
Linda Jack, Chair Liberal Left, FPC, PCC Candidate Bedfordshire
James Testro, Derby City.Rory Roberson, Worcester
William Jones, chair of Wythenshawe and Sale East
Andrew Page, Inverclyde
Gareth Epps, Reading
Stephen Glenn, Membership Development Officer Northern Ireland
Kat Dadswell, Liverpool Wavertree
Dimitri Seirlis, Worthing West
Michael Mullaney Cllr and Executive Member for Housing Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
Alexis Saliou Diouf Alexis S Diouf, Cllr Chesterfield Borough Council
Ian Morton, High Wycombe, Regional Secretary
Cllr Martin Hunt, Deputy Leader, Colchester Borough Council
Dave Harris, Sutton, Surrey
James Moore, Greater Reading
George Potter, Guildford, LDDA Executive
Alex Wasyliw, South Cambridgeshire
Elaine Bagshaw, Chair of Tower Hamlets and Federal Executive member
Nigel Quinton, Chair, Welwyn Hatfield Libdems
Julian Tisi, Windsor
Maria Pretzler, Swansea and Gower
Chris Roberts, London Borough of Havering
Chris Randall Hull and Hessle
Andrew Waller, York Central
Simon Wilson, Broadland
Robert Pitt, Leeds Liberal Youth Secretary
Hannah Bettsworth, Aberdeen Donside, Liberal Youth Scotland Ordinary Executive Member
Aubrey Williams, Thirsk and Malton/Aberystwyth University
Penny Goodman, Leeds North West
Olly Loosemore, Chair of Orpington Liberal Democrats
Louise Shaw, Stockport
James Hackett, Chair of Rhondda Cynon Taff Welsh Liberal Democrats
Leon Duveen, Treasurer Bassetlaw & Sherwood
Marie Jenkins Town Councillor in Devon, Leadership Programme candidate
Jennie Coggles, Exec. Member Nottingham City
Phil Ling, Merton Borough, Exec member, on Leadership Programme
Chris Lucas, Councillor, Three Rivers District Council, Leadership Programme Candidate, South West Herts
Jason J Hunter, Sutton
Angharad Bethan Jones Membership Officer Rhondda Cynon Taff Welsh Liberal Democrats
Daisy Cooper, Parliamentary Candidate (Suffolk Coastal 2010), Lewes
Andrew Hart, Theale
Mario Grana, Theale
Sandra Taylor Altrincham and Sale West with Stretford and Urmston Lib Dems Membership Officer
Dr John Cordwell, County Councillor, Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire CC
Alan Marshall, Rotherham & Barnsley
Greg Judge, Coventry, Leadership Candidate Programme
Geoffrey G J Payne, Hackney, events organiserCatherine Wanless, slough
Sarah Durkin, Wolverhampton East, Secretary
Luke Bosman, Preston
Cllr Nigel Ashton, Southport
Rob Parsons, Lewes, foot soldier
Chris Richards, Vice-Chair Camden Lib Dems, Leadership Programme Candidate
Christina Shaw Leeds NW
Suzanne Fletcher, Stockton local party
Tom Snowdon, Amber Valley Lib Dems
Owen Roberts, Swansea and Gower
Max Wilkinson, Cheltenham
Janet King, Chair, Bromsgrove
Martin Horwood, Member of Parliament, Cheltenham
Adam Janiczek Bradford
Stuart Wheatcroft, Carlisle
Scott Collins, South Northamptonshire
Cllr Jon Ball, Ealing local party and FCC member
Cllr Stephen Knight AMLondon Assembly MemberGroup Leader, Richmond upon Thames Council
Mark Blackburn, Westminster Borough
David Grace, Cambridge City
Cllr Lloyd Harris, Regional Secretary – East of England Lib Dems
Cllr Ruth Skelton, Derby City
Nicola Prigg, Ayrshire
Paul Walter, Newbury – Liberal Democrat Voice editorial team
Luke Chapman, Social Liberal Forum – Membership Officer
Cllr Ros Kayes, Dep Leader, Lib Dem Group, West Dorset District Council
Sadie Smith, West Bromwich and Warley
Cllr Hilary Jones, Leader of Derby Liberal Democrats
Cllr Eric Ashburner, Derby City
Cllr Ajit Atwal, Derby City
Clive Lloyd, Cheltenham
Cllr Joe Naitta, Derby City
Cllr Judith Woodman, Leader of Cardiff Liberal Democrats
Cllr Joe Boyle, Cardiff
Ald. Peter Tyzack, Chair Filton & Bradley Stoke LP
Cllr Mike Carr, Derby City
Jonathan McCree, Haringey Lib Dem
C Gordon, Mole Valley
Rae Holmes, Chesterfield
Phil Stevens, Islington – exec member
Caron Lindsay, Treasurer, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Ruth Hopwood, vice chair Wythenshawe and Sale East Liberal Democrats

* Tracy Connell is a member of the Liberal Democrats in Newcastle City, and a regional officer.

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80 Comments

  • Simon Beard, Sevenoaks

  • Peter Watson 16th Oct '12 - 11:44am

    What they said.

  • Well said. You have all restored my faith in the decency of Liberal Democrat ordinary members, activists and Councillors.

  • Completely agree.
    Mike Cobley, Irvine, N Ayrshire.

  • Tracy Connell 16th Oct '12 - 11:57am

    Further to the point about it being ‘voluntary’, there is also the case that a job seeker could lose their JSA if they turned down a job. Therefore, if they are offered a job under this scheme they have no choice and do not enter to give up their workers rights voluntarily, unless you call living in poverty on the streets a choice!

  • Tracy Connell 16th Oct '12 - 12:35pm

    More names…

    Steve Thomas, Cheltenham
    Steve James, Torridge and West Devon
    Joyce Yendole, Glasgow North

  • Well said.

  • Norman Fraser 16th Oct '12 - 12:50pm

    The Treasury website link is broken. Can someone give me the reference please?

  • Alex Macfie, Kingston upon Thames

  • Tracy Connell 16th Oct '12 - 12:58pm
  • Go for it!

  • Malcolm Todd 16th Oct '12 - 1:20pm

    Well said. I hope it makes a difference. I think if the slow drip of appalling decisions and comments made by the party leadership over the last couple of years hadn’t already left me unwilling to renew my membership this month, letting this appalling measure through would be the final straw for me.

    I notice, by the way, that the government website says:
    “Legislation to bring in the new employee-owner contract will come later this year so that companies can use the new type of contract from April 2013. The Government will consult on some details of the contract later this month.” (my emphases)
    Which suggests that either LD ministers have already signed up to this, or the Tories have become so contemptuous of their “partners” that they think they can take their capitulation for granted. Up to now, I’ve confidently assumed that this coalition will, despite everything, last the full 5 years. I have begun to doubt it.

  • Matthew Huntbach 16th Oct '12 - 1:23pm

    I will take it further than this. I accept the reason the coalition was formed, and I accept it means we must compromise from our ideals in order to have a stable government. However, I am just fed up with seeing everything I do in trying to defend the party undermined by its leading figures who seem determined to speak, write and act in a way which just confirms the attacks on us as having “given in on all our principles and becomes Tories” which are being made against us. I simply cannot give my time to the party when its leaders are undermining what I am trying to do. Therefore I won’t, my position now is that I am a “Liberal Democrat On Strike”. I shall not deliver any party literature or knock on doors for the party until we have a leadership which works in co-operation with its members rather than undermines them.

  • Add my name please: Dan Sear, Guildford

  • chris smart 16th Oct '12 - 2:45pm

    Shares for employment rights is a truly evil concept which has been designed for, and will be used by, employers against the interests of the employed. The next inevitable step will be to allow employers to use employee pension funds whilst maintaining notional separation. Fine until the company goes bust or sold. Distribution of shares and profits to employees must never replace fair wages and conditions of employment.
    Please add my name.

  • “What employee would want, voluntarily, to give up these rights, for any amount of money? ”

    I would, for enough money. Why shouldn’t I?

    And what right have you to stop me?

  • Tracy Connell 16th Oct '12 - 3:22pm

    @ad No one would try to stop you, but we happen to think that workers rights are worth protecting. Otherwise you will end up with a huge rise in unemployment and poverty if there was a ‘fire at will’ free for all. Would you not be in fear of losing your job with absolutely no comeback? You would have to sell the shares back to the company. Who’s to say they wouldn’t palm you off with a 10th of what the shares were originally worth. So you end up with no job, no shares, no money. I bet if you were fired for no reason you’d be kicking up an almighty fuss and probably blame Nick Clegg for it all!

  • Tracy Connell 16th Oct '12 - 3:23pm

    This Kind of scheme can be implement without having to trade off your employment rights. See what the Lib Dems passed at conference for a workable share ownership scheme http://www.libdems.org.uk/siteFiles/resources/docs/conference/2012-Autumn/106%20-%20Mutuals,%20Employee%20Ownership%20and%20Workplace%20Democracy.pdf

  • Nick (not Clegg) 16th Oct '12 - 3:25pm

    If I were still a member, I would certainly sign this.

    Nick Collins
    Formerly Local Party Secretary, South West Surrey (among other sins)

  • Alex Macfie 16th Oct '12 - 3:29pm

    @ad: Why shouldn’t anyone be able to give up their rights for money? Because that undermines the whole definition of “rights”, which is that they are inalienable. They are not rights if they come at a price.
    I know one has to be careful with slippery slope arguments, but I think it’s valid here. If we decide that it’s acceptable to be able to “buy” someone’s employment rights, what about other statutory rights and protections? The right to a fair trial? The right to vote?

  • Vince’s failure to reply to the readers of LibDemVoice is telling. It would seem that he does not actually want to engage in informed debate. Perhaps, in view of this and other recent incidents, it is time someone kindly gives him his slippers and shows him the door…

  • Tracy Connell 16th Oct '12 - 4:41pm

    Kirby Meehan, Derby City
    Cllr David Goodall, Eastleigh Lib Dems
    Carl Minns, Hull & Hessle, Chair
    Cllr Martin Tod, Winchester, Vice-Chair, Winchester Liberal Democrats. 2010 Parliamentary Candidate, Winchester
    Neville Farmer, Chair of Wyre Forest (until next month). Former PPC there, too. Spokesperson for Worcestershire. Former Vice Chair West Midlands Region.

  • Tracy Connell 16th Oct '12 - 4:43pm

    @Roland This apparently is Vince’s response: http://www.libdemvoice.org/vince-cable-mp-writes-my-view-on-george-osbornes-employee-ownership-scheme-30780.html

    I know, weird that was actually published before this letter but that’s just the way it worked out with the LDV editors.

    This letter was sent to LDV on Friday.

  • Tracy Connell 16th Oct '12 - 4:58pm

    Lee Dargue, The Wrekin and Telford

  • Nigel Quinton 16th Oct '12 - 5:00pm

    @Roland and Tracy – I think Vince’s letter on LDV was in response to the one I had published on LDV last Friday http://tinyurl.com/cuygy8h and to a letter I sent to Tim Gordon which he passed to Vince’s office. I hope that your more detailed critique will get a proper response from the party leadership.

    I think it is worth noting again that the signatures on this list represent a wide range of views across the party and include among them a large proportion of party chairs, PPC’s and key activists, who are increasingly concerned about the party’s apparent inability to function as a coherent campaigning organisation. I probably won’t go as far as Matthew Huntbach and actually lay down my tools, but that large pile of leaflets awaiting delivery is not helped by the lack of LibDem leadership at the centre.

    How hard is it for Vince and Nick simply to say the obvious – that Osborne’s proposals are complete and utter nonsense? And that Liberal Democrat policy – only just passed at conference – represents a far better way to encourage Employee Participation?

  • Tracy Connell 16th Oct '12 - 5:05pm

    I think it was a response to both Nigel.

  • Tracy Connell 16th Oct '12 - 5:09pm

    @Nigel I sent this letter direct to Vince’s chief adviser, as well as Tim Gordon and a couple of others, including Nick’s office and have been in email contact with his adviser over the weekend regarding a reply from Vince.

    I would have thought we were not the only ones complaining either.

    The fact remains is that Vince’s reply is lacking in many ways and answers neither of us really.

  • Stephen Hesketh 16th Oct '12 - 8:03pm

    Please add my name also. Stephen Hesketh, Southport.
    Liberal Democrats should be offering industrial policies based our unique blend individual and community rights and responsibilities in the workplace and elsewhere. Exchanging rights for shares is nothing more than part of the Nasty Party’s ongoing mission to minimise the rights of ordinary British people – be it at work, as consumers or at the ballot box. Come on Vince, this transparently cynical Tory ploy must surely fly in the face of everything you stand for!

  • Ian Stewart 16th Oct '12 - 9:22pm

    my name to this list, please.
    Ian Stewart
    Cllr Cumbria County Council
    Cllr South Lakeland District Council

  • I recall that Sunday working was originally voluntary, now if you want a job in retail you will find Sunday working is compulsory.

  • Another dangerous side effect of this proposal is that people could abuse it to take advantage of the tax free aspect on the employee owned shares. I can’t see any way that this would stop company owners employing friends and family as ‘staff’ on a minimum salary , letting them give up rights they would never need to use, and being given shares with a tax-free element to the income from these attached.

    More importantly though, as has been pointed out, owners would be able to offer only this type of contract to new employees. No person should ever be required to make the choice between working without the same rights as the majority of working people, or not working at all. In fact they should never have to choose between one company, with shares but less employment rights, or another one, without shares but with rights.

    Losing employment rights is completely at odds with the principle of shared ownership and businesses. The claim that this will help small companies who start up and may find the added ‘flexibility’ (this is a myth, there is no added flexibility, what they get is a less flexible, but more constrained work force) of staff a benefit is complete nonsense. If this is truly consensual with the employees, then employees can already agree to the additional restrictions the proposals would put upon them. They can do it voluntarily, on the understanding that it would help the owners run the business, which they presumably want to see succeed. If employees cannot be persuaded to voluntarily work under greater constraints, then they clearly do not see the success of the business as a consideration, and bribing them to do so is immoral and in the long term only going to damage the business. There is also nothing to stop employers offering shares to employees as a bonus in recognition of them making a voluntary sacrifice to help the business succeed.

    This policy is entirely unnecessary for employers and employees to agree to take measures to help the business, and make rewards for doing so. To do this requires no new legal or business mechanism. In fact, they are free to go beyond the limited measures set out in the policy.

    The only time that such a mechanism might be needed is for one party to use it when there is no agreement between parties, when, in fact, it is NOT by mutual agreement, and from all aspects it looks like this is simply a policy for employers to remove employees rights without their consent, and provide a meagre compensation for doing so. If shares and shareholder decisions were binding upon company directors then having shares might at least give the employees a compensating voice in how the company is run and they are treated by the company… but they don’t.

  • Thanks Alex!

    Spot on with those points. Why they haven’t taken up our conference motion that was passed on share ownership instead I will never know. This one was obviously cooked up by the Tories. They need to take more account of conference if you ask me, in order to come out with a decent workable policy and not something half baked.

  • ““What employee would want, voluntarily, to give up these rights, for any amount of money? ”

    I would, for enough money. Why shouldn’t I?

    And what right have you to stop me?”

    What kind of employer would ask you to give up your right against unfair dismissal? How does that at all fit with the idea of employee share ownership? We do have a right to stop something which would allow companies to be created which could unfairly dismiss staff. If people are allowed to choose if they sign up, and do, that puts pressure on others to do so, which unfairly changes the employment opportunities and rights of others.

    You cannot consider the ability of a single employee giving up their rights in isolation to the rest of the business and the affect the policy has on it. This policy has the potential to create businesses where to work in them staff have to give up their employment rights , that is the problem.

    Also, the only time an employee is going to feel comfortable giving up their rights is if they feel they are a good employee and won’t need them. In this case, why should a business ask to take away rights (which, if the employee is already good, won’t make any difference to how the business treats them) in exchange for a reward? Good employees should be rewarded anyway. And why should one employee be given the opportunity to be financially rewarded just because they are able to give up certain rights, such as the right to only give 8 weeks notice of maternity leave? Men would find this a lot easier than women, and some other men too perhaps. This is simply discriminatory and runs opposite to the equality act.

  • @Tracey and Nigel – thanks for the feedback about the order of articles, it makes Vince look even more out of touch and deliberately so.

  • Matt Drewett 17th Oct '12 - 8:37am

    Matt Drewett, Milton Keynes

  • Martin Pierce 17th Oct '12 - 8:53am

    And my name – Martin Pierce, Cambridge (Parliamentary candidate, West Ham, 2010). A big hats off to Martin Horwood for signing this though no doubt it will do his career in Westminster no favours. Good on you.

  • Thank goodness for this letter. Fully agree as per my comment on LDV yesterday. Just wondering, however, how the signing was organised? As chair of Chester lib Dems I would have liked to add my signature.

  • I would have been a signatory to this letter but I am “only” an Associate Member of LDDA and a former Party member [my reasons for departing are well-known by my friends].

    Some employees in the UK are already having to sign “waiver” clauses in their contracts by which they give up their rights to a maximum number of hours in their working weeks. Mostly these are people who work for foreign companies trading in the UK. Why are these companies being allowed to flout the maximum hours worked rule as laid down by Europe?

    I do hope that Vince Cable and Nick Clegg take notice of this open letter. The situation in the UK has come to the stage when protests such as this have to be made – very sad.

  • Nick (not Clegg) 17th Oct '12 - 11:20am

    @ Martin Pierce

    How sad that , to date, only one MP has signed.

  • Matthew Huntbach 17th Oct '12 - 11:23am

    Nigel Quinton

    I think it is worth noting again that the signatures on this list represent a wide range of views across the party and include among them a large proportion of party chairs, PPC’s and key activists, who are increasingly concerned about the party’s apparent inability to function as a coherent campaigning organisation. I probably won’t go as far as Matthew Huntbach and actually lay down my tools, but that large pile of leaflets awaiting delivery is not helped by the lack of LibDem leadership at the centre

    I had yet another letter in the Guardian yesterday defending the bloody party. Maybe the fact that they’ve been printing most of what I send them on these lines is because they feel a need for some balance against all the “nasty evil LibDems, propping up the Tories” stuff they must be getting in buckletloads. So I’ve maybe done more to defend the party than almost anyone else against its attackers by doing this sort of thing constantly – yet right now I just can’t go out and work for it in any other way. The reason really is because I feel everything I want to say in its defence seems to be getting undermined by Nick Clegg and a few others at the top.

    It’s not lack of leadership – Clegg seems to have a fairly good idea on where he is leading the party and is working energetically to do so. It’s that the leadership seems to regard the membership with contempt, does not want to listen to our concerns, does not want to lead the party in a way which reflects all of it, wants to take it in a direction it has not agreed to and almost no-one outside its very top ranks wants. I keep mentioning the Richard Reeves article in the New Statesman because I think that really did give the game away. Clegg’s outgoing Director of Strategy really did issue a message in which he called for the bulk of the party’s membership to go off and join the Labour Party, and for most of the votes we’ve worked to build up over the decades to be abandoned on the grounds they are merely “borrowed form Labour”.

    Well, we lost Whitefoot ward in the by-election in the London Borough of Lewisham last week. “Borrowed from Labour” Mr Reeves? Now it is back with Labour. Our winning that ward some years before was the key in us breaking through in what was a black hole for the Liberal Democrats, only one ward with councillors and consistent activity and a poor third place in Parliamentary elections, to a serious challenge to Labour across the borough, second place in all three of its constituencies. I now live in LB Greenwich, but until earlier this year still did my Focus round in LB Lewisham where I used to live. I stopped after being told by the Director of Campaigns for London that I was unwelcome in the party for accusing it of “complacency” and “incompetence” in the way it has been presenting itself nationally. I am very sorry to my former colleagues for not giving my help in the by-election in the Borough, but this is why.

  • James Sandbach 17th Oct '12 - 11:38am

    Excellent letter (and one I’d like to add my name to) – the point is well made that the Tories are trying to introduce the Beecroft proposals by the back door because they can’t get them in the front door…

  • Regarding Jean Evan’s query on inputting support for this correspondence. In order to get a proper response and action from our cabinet members I suppose that in the last resort we can call on “36 Degrees” to raise a petition. It seems a somewhat more organised and effective organisation in raising topics of concern .

  • John Carlisle 17th Oct '12 - 12:01pm

    brilliant summary of the real issues, thank you. What Vince Cable does not get is that this bargaining approach just commoditises the workers. Marxists must be jumping with joy.

  • Dave G Fawcett 17th Oct '12 - 1:00pm

    Please add my name to this letter.
    Dave G Fawcett
    Chair. Gateshead Liberal Democrats

  • Another thing about this that springs to mind: We’ve just had our autumn conference. Why couldn’t our ministerial team put this policy to us and get our blessing (or otherwise)? Indeed there was a motion that set out our policy on employee ownership that could have been amended to include these plans.

    I understand that policy compromises must be reached with the Conservatives, but we’ve already done that in the Coalition Agreement. Coalition policy compromises that are extra-agreement need democratic approval from the membership.

    This isn’t a one-off either. What’s with this Pension of Mum and Dad mortgage scheme for first time buyers? Announced as our policy with no internal democracy.

    It’s not even that the leadership are ignoring our expressed will – they aren’t even asking us in the place.

  • Nigel Jones 17th Oct '12 - 2:26pm

    I agree entirely with what Tracy has written and am extremely disappointed with our leadership.
    Cllr. Nigel Jones
    Newcastle under Lyme
    Parliamentary Candidate 2010

  • @Tracy ” No one would try to stop you”

    Everyone on this comment tread is trying to stop me. They all want to make sure that I can never have the option to make this deal.

    Justify this ban if you like, but don’t ban me from making a deal and them claim that you are not stopping me from doing anything.

  • Carl Nichols 17th Oct '12 - 6:54pm

    @ ad Just to be clear, you want to be allowed to be give up your employment rights for shares that give you no say in how the firm is run, which can’t be sold on the market and whose value is decided by your employer? I’m sure your boss will be happy to let you do that.
    However I don’t think it’s fair or just that new employees will be forced tosurrender their rights in return for more or less worthless shares if they want a job, which is what this policy amounts to.

  • Norman Fraser 17th Oct '12 - 9:32pm

    Add me on please: Norman Fraser, Glasgow North

  • Dave Eastham 18th Oct '12 - 8:43am

    Please add my name to the signatories to this letter.

    Dave Eastham,
    Chepstow

    You might also be interested in what some HR professionals think of this back of the proverbial back of a fag packet nonsense

    “Shares for employment rights – another quack remedy” @ http://flipchartfairytales.wordpress.com/

  • Duncan Stott

    It sounds like a done deal, maybe a few concessions will be made to party members in the light of this letter. But make no mistake Vince would not have written this unless it was already agreed. Though it beggars believe that Vince could possibly have agreed to this because of all the points raised above. But there it is. No party leadership is going to listen to it’s members once they are in power (look at Blair and the Iraq war) – so Lib Dems, get used to this.

  • Kirsten de Keyser 18th Oct '12 - 11:55am

    “THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER” springs to mind.
    Add my name please:
    Kirsten de Keyser, Camden Liberal Democrats

  • Old Codger Chris 18th Oct '12 - 4:12pm

    What part of the word Unfair as in “Unfair Dismissal” do they not understand? I’m astonished that even a Tory government would try this, let alone with “Liberal” support.

    There’s a better way to encourage employment. Start shifting the burden of taxation away from the Payroll Tax (aka NI employers contribution) and Business Rates.

  • Tracy Connell 19th Oct '12 - 12:28pm
  • Very worryingly we had Danny Alexander talking at our regional conference and when asked if he knew about the proposals prior to them being announced he said he did, that they were discussed and put forward along with the business bank. I can’t believe that those at the top wouldn’t realise that even some of the Party’s membership might find this idea highly questionable.

  • “@ad: Why shouldn’t anyone be able to give up their rights for money?”

    Because it puts people who are in a position to be able to do so at an advantage over those who are not. No-one should ever be at a disadvantage for needing to, or being able to exercise their basic rights in society.

  • @Alex. Looks like a done deal and it will be a rush through job. We have to pull out all stops on this one!

  • @Amanda, what is your local party and position?

  • Btw. I want to thank Penny Burgess, Dimitri Seirlis and Sadie Smith and everyone else I’ve missed who helped contribute to the wording of this letter.

    Thanks for everyone’s support and efforts in getting the word out. Keep it going guys we must plug on to get the message through that Liberal Democrats protect Worker Rights and will not fall for back door Tory policy.

  • Craig Gunton-Day 22nd Oct '12 - 8:44am

    Please add my name: Craig Gunton-Day, Vice Chair East Midlands Liberal Democrats

  • @Amanda @Alan Please can you post your local party and any position you hold there. Thanks.

  • Names added since the publication of this letter:

    Caron Lindsay, Treasurer, Scottish Liberal Democrats
    Steve Thomas, Cheltenham
    Steve James, Torridge and West Devon
    Kirby Meehan, Derby City
    Carl Minns, Hull & Hessle, Chair
    Neville Farmer, Chair, Wyre Forest Liberal Democrats
    Lee Dargue, The Wrekin and Telford
    Cllr Nick Barlow, Colchester BC
    Cllr Martin Tod, Winchester, Vice-Chair, Winchester Liberal Democrats. 2010 Parliamentary Candidate, Winchester
    Cllr Iain Brodie Browne, Leader Sefton Lib Dem Group
    Alex Macfie, Kingston upon Thames
    Linden Parker, Ceredigion, Communications Officer for IR Cymru (Liberal Youth Wales)
    Emma Sandrey, Cardiff and Penarth, Campaign Organiser.
    Cllr. Mike Powell (Rhondda Cynon Taf); Vice chair of local party.
    Peter Thompson, Chairman of Bakewell Liberal Democrats
    Ian Stewart Cllr Cumbria County Council Cllr South Lakeland District Council
    Dave G Fawcett Chair Gateshead Liberal Democrats
    Cllr. Nigel Jones Newcastle under Lyme Parliamentary Candidate 2010
    Norman Fraser, Glasgow North
    Dave Eastham,Chepstow
    Kirsten de Keyser, Camden Liberal Democrats
    Joyce Yendole, Glasgow North
    Cllr David Goodall, Eastleigh Lib Dems
    Simon Beard, Sevenoaks
    Mike Cobley, Irvine, N Ayrshire
    Dan Sear, Guildford
    Stephen Hesketh, Southport
    Maureen Rigg, Stockton Borough Council, Group Leader
    Vaughan Bruce, keighley and Ilkley
    Richard Good, chair Richmond Yorkshire and Vice president of Yorkshire and Humber region
    Ian Stewart Cllr Cumbria County Council Cllr South Lakeland District Council
    John Harris, Richmond Yorkshire
    Avril Coehlo Twickernham and Richmond, memb. dev officer for Hampton North
    Daniel Henry, Leicester City Lib Dems
    Jason Alecock, West Suffolk Lib Dems, Kingston Borough Lib Dems
    Simon Killane, Wiltshire Councillor for Malmesbury
    David Freeman, Durham & Easington, Chairman
    Maelor Williams, Middlesbrough & East Cleveland, President
    Cllr Nigel Martin, Durham & Easington, Leader of DCC LD Group
    Cllr Neil Bradbury, Hexham
    Jake Higgin, Berwick, Liberal Youth
    Hilary Allen, Darlington & Sedgefield, Secretary
    David Nisbet, North Tyneside
    Harry Longmoor, Darlington
    Jeffrey Reid, Blyth Valley
    Penny Reid, Blyth Valley, Chair
    Sue Pitts, Durham & Easington
    Angelika Schneider, Berwick
    Anne Marie Curry, Darlington & Sedgefield, Vice Chair
    Clare Mills, Berwick
    David MacDonald
    Cllr Ian Shires Leader Lib Dem Group Walsall MBC
    Geoff Payne FCC Hitchin & Harpenden
    Peter Welch 2010 PPC, Southend West
    Rhys Taylor, Policy and Campaigns Officer Ieuenctid Rhyddfrydol Cymru/Liberal Youth Wales
    Tim and Glynnis Dumper – East Devon
    Amina Jamal Swansea & Gower Local Party, secretary
    Cllr Les Allen, Derby City
    County Cllr Derek Deedman, West Sussex
    Sid Cumberland(ex-chair Castle Point & Rayleigh)
    Phil Page Central Devon Treasurer
    Craig Gunton-Day, Vice Chair East Midlands Liberal Democrats

  • Donald Cameron 25th Oct '12 - 4:15pm

    I wish to be a signatory to this excellent letter. Leaders will have to take note of the severe unrest in the Party.
    Convener, Moray Liberal Democrats.

  • Hugh Waterfield 25th Oct '12 - 4:38pm

    It beggars belief that any Party Member could be so heedless of our Constitution. As more than a few have said,
    “How sad that we have got to make this protest.”
    Well done the prime petitioners.
    [Executive member, Glasgow North LD.]

  • Thanks Donald and Hugh. Names added :)

  • If you get the LDV survey please fill it in as there is a question on this issue.

  • cllr Rob Prowse 28th Oct '12 - 11:39am

    Please add my name to the list.

  • Tony Cummins 12th Nov '12 - 4:37pm

    Please add my name.
    (Executive member Ellesmere Port and Neston)

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