Liberal Democrats block David Cameron’s plans to erode workers’ rights

Another glimpse into what a Tory Britain would look like comes in today’s Independent which reports that the Liberal Democrats in the shape of Business Secretary Vince Cable have fended off an attempt by the Prime Minister to erode the rights of employees. Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist who has donated almost £600,000 to the Conservative Party, produced a report last year which has so far not been published, which is believed to include proposals to allow employers to fire unproductive workers and cut entitlement to maternity leave.

The Tories, says the Independent, from David Cameron down, wanted to implement this report in full, but the Liberal Democrats put a stop to it:

Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, whose department is responsible for employment law, said he did not want to bring in a “hire and fire culture”. Unlike Mr Beecroft, he detected little demand for such rules.

After a row in the Coalition, a compromise was reached in which Mr Cable agreed to consider “no-fault dismissal” for firms employing fewer than 10 people. But he said he has no intention of bringing it in. A Liberal Democrat source said: “It’s in the long, long grass.”

You can read the article in full here.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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This entry was posted in News.


  • Isn’t Beecroft a massive donor to the Tory Party? Is it not scandalous that a massive donor should write policy, even if Cable rejected it?

    Shouldn’t the lib dems be doing everything they can to draw attention to this potential cash for policy scandal, and how they averted it?

  • Geoffrey Payne 28th Mar '12 - 12:16pm

    Now this is precisely why we need the Lib Dems in government. If only this happened more often. However it did look like these policies would get through, or a watered down version of them. But it is NOT in the Coalition agreement and there is no reason why the Lib Dems should agree to this.

  • It’s no wonder our competitiveness has dropped when employers aren’t allowed to dismiss “unproductive workers.” With so many people dying to get into work, it’s a shame that Cable is defending lazy workers and blocking enthusiastic would-be employees from entering the workplace.

  • I don’t expect those here with an orange shade to be too happy about this.

  • The question is whether our Vince is also a counterbalance to other members of the Coalition Government.?

  • Malcolm Todd 29th Mar '12 - 3:42pm

    @tom jones — not sure whether you’re being serious, but if you are you’re resting on a series of unspoken assumptions:
    that employers know whether you’re an unproductive worker;
    that employers will always be honest (and not say, for example, “I sacked her because she was unproductive — it was nothing to do with her being pregnant and/or refusing my sexual advances”);
    that an unproductive worker is the same thing as a “lazy worker”.

    It is, of course, perfectly possible to sack a worker who is incompetent or lazy. What (some) employers object to is being asked to prove that that was the reason and that it was a reasonable conclusion to reach.

  • Richard Swales 2nd Apr '12 - 1:43pm

    There are two things I want to say. The first most will agree with and the second not.

    First, paid maternity leave is something that we as a society want and support. The costs of it should fall on society as a whole (in other words shared between all taxpayers, companies, groups of workers both male and female), it should not be paid for directly by whichever company (or group of workers) is unfortunate (or honest, or some would say daft) enough to employ/include too many women of the wrong age and family circumstances. Otherwise we can expect discrimination.

    Second, if there exists a right to be employed by someone who doesn’t want you, then I hereby exercise my right to be employed by Malcolm Todd. See you tomorrow at 9 o’clock.

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