Workers turned out in their hundreds of thousands on March 26 2011. They are determined to defend their jobs, pay, conditions and employment rights
Workers turned out in their hundreds of thousands on March 26 2011. They are determined to defend their jobs, pay, conditions and employment rights

‘Unions stand ready to oppose the attacks on workplace rights contained in the Beecroft Report,’ a TUC spokesman told News Line yesterday.

‘Attacking workers’ rights will do nothing to boost the economy,’ he added.

The heavily-leaked report by Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist and Tory Party donor, which was commissioned by the Cameron regime last year, is to be published in full this week.

It calls for businesses to have much greater freedom to sack workers, for the scrapping of the TUPE regulations and for a cap on employment tribunal unfair dismissal payments.

The 15-page document has 20 proposals, including:

• An end to the mandatory 90-day ‘consultation period’ for a company planning to make a workforce redundant, with Beecroft recommending that the 90-days should be reduced to 30, or five days in an emergency.

• A cap on loss of earnings compensation for employees who make a successful unfair dismissal claim.

• The scrapping of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations (TUPE) regulations, which protect employees’ terms and conditions of employment when a business is transferred from one owner to another.

Under TUPE, continuity of service and other rights are preserved, while both old and new employers are required to inform and consult employees affected directly or indirectly by the transfer.

An end to the provisions in the Equality Act which make employers liable for claims from employees for ‘third party harassment’.

• Moving the responsibility to check on foreign workers’ eligibility to work in Britain from the employer to the Border Agency or the Home Office.

In his report Beecroft reserves his main attack for ‘underperforming’ public sector workers, who he claims are left to ‘coast along’ unchallenged.

Beecroft urges the government to replace employment rights with ‘compensated no fault dismissal’ (CNFD), under which employers could dismiss employees at any time without giving a reason.

Last month the government cut the period of employment required before an unfair dismissal claim can be brought to an Employment Tribunal from one year to two.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow told News Line: ‘This is a further attempt to make workers pay for the crisis of capital and as far as we’re concerned it needs to be resisted.

‘What we’ve got to keep on about to all these political parties is that we want a complete repeal of all anti-union laws and a framework of laws brought in that protects workers from unscrupulous employers.’

GMB national officer for health, Rehana Azam, added: ‘This is another example of the government’s attacks on the working class.

‘When people are made redundant it’s not their fault.

‘Attacks on working people are very much real and we’re going to have to respond to that. People have to have protection in the workplace.’