Vince Cable winning out on employee rights

Via The Voice’s Mark Pack:

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  • Vince has long been my favourite politician. My estimation of him grows every time he rocks the boat.

  • I’d like to see a series of articles on this report, breaking it down, so people can see the kind of asset stripping vulture capitalist direction this country would be going in if the Tories had a free hand. One thing that sticks out is breaking down TUPE. Enabling firms to weasel out of contractual obligations by just changing the name on the sign outside the plant, even more than they already can. That any leading Tory thought it was a good idea to sponsor this rubbish is tragic. Unfortunately we have primarily a government led by people who are rich, not because they have made money through their own labour and ingenuity, but because they have inherited money. The economy stagnates, weighed down by debt, so with no experience of their own to fall back on, they cast around for ideas on how to grow the economy, and ask people who’s modus operandi is to leverage up the debt, slash costs, pump and dump, cut and run. How about we commission some advice from people that built long term businesses, stable healthy businesses from the ground up?

  • Well said, Alistair. Let’s hope the i headline is true.

  • Steve Hilton invites a venture capitalist who has made £500K+ contributions to the Conservative Party to write a pamphlet in which he says that hard-won and long-standing workers’ rights should be abolished.

    The Tories never change really, do they? I sincerely hope that this marks a new phase in the coalition where our ministers actually choose to publicly criticise outrageous, illiberal policy proposals coming from the other lot rather than appearing to embrace them.

  • The subject of conference accreditation is undoubtedly a Liberal dog-whistle and will of course trigger a robust discussion.

    But it is discouraging to find that the thread has attracted 70+ comments whereas this thread – on something as basic and universally important as employment rights and conflict within the coalition – manages only 3 comments in the same time.

  • patricia roche 22nd May '12 - 10:30am

    Paul, I do agree with you. It is, however the case that so much stuff is going on, eg 2 years for unfair dismissal and unemployed people working for nothing with vulnerable patients, that it is becoming increasingly hard to know where to prioritise next.

  • Richard Dean 22nd May '12 - 10:34am

    There was a previous article, 17 comments, I’m afraid three of them were by me, but Alex Sabine has produced an essay which prbably makes up for that.

  • Richard, as was pointed out, we already have about the most flexible labour laws in the EU. Personally I’ve experienced being TUPED and laid off alongside EU colleagues including in France Belgium and Germany after a venture capital takeover and I am well aware that whatever reforms there have been in Germany, their labour laws still favour the worker far more than ours do, statutory minimum payments, training/retraining payments are all inferior in the UK to elsewhere. Germany didn’t get to where it is today with a cowboy hire and fire attitude, it achieved it through attention to quality and long term business relationships. If you lay workers off more easily, yes firms can be valued higher as they can write off their contractual obligations more easily, but workers have less confidence, so they buy less and aggregate demand is reduced, so the net effect on the economy can be very bad.

  • Richard Dean 22nd May '12 - 11:30am

    Alistair. You’re quite right, and by ignoring the special issues of small businesses and startups you make my point very eloquently. Those issues are different compared to large and established companies. They are also more important now since many people seem to think that recovery will be led by SME’s rather than the large national and international firms.

  • Richard, I’m not ignoring SMEs. I have worked in companies as small as 2 people, and global corporates at the other end of the spectrum. My point is that I wouldn’t ask a venture capitalist to recommend business rules on his own any more than I would ask Murdoch to set privacy rules on his own. Google race to the bottom.

  • Richard Swales 23rd May '12 - 10:12am

    What I would be most afraid of in terms of employing people in the UK is the legal system based on precedent, not written law *. In Europe as an employer you can sit and read the Labour Code, count the costs and make a job offer accordingly. The lack of certainty about things like maternity leave (in the UK the costs fall on whoever forgot to discriminate against women the wrong age, not on society as a whole) also makes employing people a bit of a lottery.

    * At this point someone will point out I’m not a lawyer and don’t know what I’m talking about – that’s the problem exactly, I shouldn’t need to be a lawyer..

  • From what I can understand from the Beecroft proposals, companies with 10 or less employees would opt out of legislation that affects larger firms. In other words, employees in these companies would have less rights. Wouldn’t that disincentivise the best people to work at SMEs? It might be harder or more expensive to get a mortgage for example, if your employment rights are diluted because you work for a small company.

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