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Half a million public sector workers demonstrated in London against the Tory-LibDem coalition on 26th March 2011
‘NO fault dismissal will allow employers to sack people where their faces don’t fit,’ Paul Kenny, leader of the GMB public service union warned yesterday.

Kenny denounced Business Secretary Cable’s announcement of a ‘no fault dismissal’ clause in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which had its Second Reading in Parliament yesterday.

Under the ‘Settlement Agreements’ clause workers will be offered immediate payouts if they agree to leave without any fuss.

The bill further stipulates that the offer of a ‘settlement agreement’ cannot be used in any future employment tribunal against the company.

The bill, being overseen by Cable’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, also includes a section insisting that employment disputes must be considered by an ‘arbitration procedure’ before they can go to an employment tribunal.

Norman Lamb, LibDem employment minister, said: ‘Employers have to feel confident in dealing with situations such as where an employee isn’t pulling their weight or where someone is unreliable or even guilty of misconduct.

‘In these instances it is sometimes in the best interests of both employee and employer to end the relationship speedily by reaching a settlement.’

Last year Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist and Tory Party donor, was commissioned by Prime Minister Cameron to look into reforming employment law.

His report, which was published last month, recommended that bosses should be able to fire staff, without giving a reason, while giving them a pay-off linked to salary and service.

Cable described Beecroft’s recommendation that ‘no-fault dismissals’ should be introduced as ‘bonkers’.

But yesterday Cable said the changes to employment law would improve the supply of suitable staff to firms, who would be less afraid of having to make large pay-outs or face legal action when laying off those who were no longer needed.

GMB leader Kenny condemned the move, saying: ‘This is no fault dismissal by another name.

‘Once again we see this government finding a way to undermine existing employment rights by introducing measures which allow employers to force employees out the door if their face doesn’t fit.
‘There is no evidence that these measures encourage growth.

‘In fact, they encourage further destabilisation in workplaces and cause unnecessary anxiety to the hard working people of the UK.’

A spokesman for the PCS union told News Line: ‘The bill is a charter for bad bosses and will do nothing to create a single job or get our economy back on its feet.

‘Quite the opposite, it promises even more power for employers over their workers.’

When the proposals were first aired in the Queen’s speech in May, TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, said: ‘It is a myth that stripping away employee rights will boost growth or create jobs.

‘This is no more than a bad bosses’ charter that will make people insecure at work and will feed straight into lower consumer confidence.’


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