What is the point?

Victoria Phillips is head of employment rights at Thompsons Solicitors

The Thompsons Solicitors UnionHome blog


According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the verb “consult” means to “discuss something with someone especially in order to get their approval or permission”.


And the government seems to agree – at least in theory. In its guidance on consultations, it says that it will consult in order to “garner views and preferences, to understand possible unintended consequences of a policy or to get views on implementation”.


Strange that, because it has just published its response to the consultation on employee owners (now renamed employee shareholders), and although the vast majority of the people who responded were against the idea, the government has said that it’s going ahead anyway. Read More…

Government Shares for Rights proposal is Beecroft by the back door

Surprise, surprise. Yet again, this Tory -led Government have brought forward legislation which seeks to water down your rights at work, this time through their “shares for rights” proposals. The Government just don’t get it. As Justin King, Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s said of the scheme: “The population at large don’t trust business. What do you think the population at large will think of businesses that want to trade employment rights for money?”


The Government have already altered the qualifying period for unfair dismissal from 1 to 2 years and with the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, which has now concluded its passage through the House of Commons, introduces changes which will make it easier for rogue employers to exploit people in work. All of these changes combined can be described as an ideological attack on employee rights that delivers by the back door the measures in the widely-criticised Beecroft Report which they claim not to be taking forward. These changes, brought forward without a shred of evidence, have the potential to spawn a new industry of litigation. We opposed these measures not just because they were bad for workers but because they are bad for business too. Read More…

Bad for workers, bad for business

Sara Ibrahim (second from right), Ian Murray MP Labour’s Shadow Minister for Employment Rights (third from right) and others.

EARLIER this week the Society of Labour Lawyers battled it out with the Conservative Lawyers over the motion that this ‘government is bad for workers and bad for business’. If you fall into either of the two camps then this proposition probably won’t surprise you.


SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) are the backbone of the UK economy employing some 14.1 million people at the start of 2012. Not only do they collectively represent almost 60% of employment in the private sector, they are more likely to employ those who have been long term unemployed. When asked in a BIS survey in 2010 what the biggest obstacle to growth was, 33% said the economy and only 7% named regulation. The number of businesses that have named regulation as a factor in the running of their business has declined on previous years. Similarly, BIS boasted in their own press release on 14 September this year that the OCED named us the most flexible labour market in the world after only the USA and Canada. Read More…

Today is your last chance to say: My employment rights are not for sale

IT’S your last chance to take part in the consultation on the Government’s Shares for Rights plan, which closes today


‘Employee-owner’ contracts will exchange fundamental employment rights for company shares of dubious value. Employees on these contracts will face double the notice requirement for early return from maternity leave and will have only limited rights to request flexible working. In addition, they will lose unfair dismissal rights and statutory redundancy pay. Read More…

If It’s Buy-In You Want: Forget the Shares-for-Rights Scheme

M. Holland [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0), CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5) or CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsSo this Government wants people to feel invested in the companies that they work for. To do this Osborne announced plans at Tory Party Conference that employees should have shares in their company, anything from £2,000 to £50,000. What does he ask for in return? Only that they give up a few more of their precious employment rights.

Read More…