Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Thuggery From Liberal "Democrat" Cable

There he was, before the election in May of last year, thought to be something of a "wise man" of British politics - the voice of reason and left-leaning liberalism.

Here he is today viciously biting into the rights and protections of the ordinary working person.
As I write an ordinary person, on managing to achieve the holy grail of a permanent contract to work for an employer, has to work for one year before being safe from summary dismissal. After one year, unless the sacking can be proven to be "fair" in law (and the law is a complex beast on this one, so I'll leave the details out of this post - feel free to ask about the Employment Rights Act 1998 any time), the dismissed employee can claim "unfair dismissal", take the employer to a tribunal if necessary and gain some of their dignity back. Along with a financial settlement if the tribunal finds in their favour.

An employment tribunal can not only find against the employee but can impose costs against them if the claim is considered "vexatious" or "frivolous". Those costs can be prohibitive - thousands and thousands of pounds (an average of £4000 to defend a case plus court costs). Oddly (you might think) I consider that to be perfectly fair - from a leftist point of view people bringing stupid, or unsubstantiated, claims against the owners of the means of production damage our argument for greater employment rights.

Call me an old pinko - but doesn't the above actually sound fair to you?

Well to Mr Cable all of the above sounds dangerously one-sided and risks the interests of "business". So - whether we actually voted for this policy or not - very soon the following adjustment to the law will take place.

You'll have to work for two years for an employer on a permanent contract before they aren't allowed to simply decide they don't like the look of you any more and show you the door. You'll have no right of redress unless the employer has clearly broken the discrimination laws (race, gender, disability...), which are notoriously hard to prove.

And - there is to be a "fee" (the TUC estimates it will be as high as £500) before any employee can make a claim to a tribunal. I actually heard some Tory prat on the radio this morning saying that someone "making a genuine claim" had nothing to fear because their fee would be covered in the costs element of a win. Hands up all those ordinary working people who can lay their hands on £500 to pay an upfront fee after losing their job?

So - clearly and unarguably a policy to disadvantage the ordinary working person. Good employers don't often get taken to tribunals, and when they do they usually win - so who, exactly, is this designed to help? I'm sure you can work that out for yourself.

Photo nicked from

1 comment:

Frankenkeith said...

I didn't know that. I attended a tribunal as the "Employer" and won. I suppose the plaintiff was vexatious but he had worked for years before we ran out of patience so had every right to waste our time. If you don't know somone after a year you are no good at your job. Two years? Ridiculous.