Like most people I have spoken to this week I had imagined that Osborne’s announcement of “shares-for-rights” was for the Tory conference audience, and would not see its way into government policy, not at least while the Liberal Democrats are part of the government.
Yet today I read in Tim Gordon’s weekly update that we actually are supporting this as a promotion of employee ownership! Nick, it is anything but!!
This is Beecroft by the back door.
We are told by Tim Gordon that we should not worry, it is entirely voluntary. No, it is not, just read the press release on the BIS and Treasury websites. Companies will be free to mandate this new form of contract for any new employee. Where is the choice in that?
Tim goes on to state that “We expect it to suit a small number of niche start-up companies, such as small tech businesses that hope to expand rapidly, but it is unlikely to suit the vast majority of businesses.” So that is all right then, is it? NO, it is not! This drives a coach and horses through previous employment law, and takes us back several decades.
I have set up small firms with employee ownership, and can tell you that I do not need to remove employee rights to do so, nor to encourage employee ownership – for many small start-ups it goes with the territory anyway, as small companies need their few employees to be tied to the company’s future.
I would also draw your attention to the motion passed in Brighton on employee ownership, and policy paper 106 to which it refers. If you have not had time to read this, please do. I think you will agree that the substance of Osborne’s proposals fly in the face of what we have just voted for. Employee rights and employee ownership are not mutually exclusive.
I am just hoping that in the current recess, eyes have been off the ball, and you have not had time to consider the party’s response to this buffoonery. I hope you will act quickly and resolutely to clearly mark our opposition to the loss of employee rights, and use the opportunity to push forward the policies contained within PP106 that conference has only just endorsed.
Yours in haste,
2010 Candidate for Hitchin & Harpenden
Chair, Welwyn Hatfield Liberal Democrats
* Nigel Quinton was the Liberal Democrat candidate for Hitchin & Harpenden and is Chair of Welwyn Hatfield Liberal Democrats