From the TUC

Workplace rights delayed: a decision devoid of vision and compassion

15 Oct 2009, by Guest in Working Life

I imagine other Touchstone contributors will want to comment on this announcement.  But just to say quickly here what a truly terrible decision it is. 

Firstly it will delay some small steps towards improving the job security and working conditions of the most vulnerable workers.  That not only makes their working lives more miserable but means more poverty and deprivation outside the workplace.  And let’s be honest here, delaying something until after the election – which could be won by a Conservative Party hostile to much employment regulation and wanting to “repatriate” all EU employment law – may well not be a delay but a death knell for these basic rights.  No wonder the CBI, IoD and others are crowing with delight.

But it also displays how, even after the worst crash and recession in decades, our leading policy-makers are still struggling to break with the New Right nonsense that got us into this mess.  The massed ranks of various business associations spent years telling us that any strengthening of workplace rights would threaten the UK’s economic miracle.  For thirty years governments believed them.  In fact, it was gross irresponsibility in The City that brought the economy down not better protection for the poorest and most mistreated.  Now we are in recession, the massed ranks of business associations tell us that any strengthening of workplace rights would threaten the UK’s economic recovery.  And still the Government believes them.

We now need brave politicians to stand up to business and make it clear that it is their job to generate wealth and growth that everyone can share in.  We need a clear message that states that no longer will affluence for the majority be bought at the expense of a large minority.  To continue along those lines is not only bad for the UK’s social and ethical well-being but is also bad for the economy and the public finances.  A bad day for a Government that has been moving in the right direction in other areas.

4 Responses to Workplace rights delayed: a decision devoid of vision and compassion

  1. Tweets that mention Workplace rights delayed: a decision devoid of vision and compassion | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC — Topsy.com
    Oct 15th 2009, 12:19 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ToUChstone blog, Anthony Arnasalam. Anthony Arnasalam said: Workplace rights delayed: a decision devoid of vision and …: In fact, it was gross irresponsibility in The Ci.. http://bit.ly/1y8kv […]

  2. Heather Wakefield
    Oct 16th 2009, 7:19 am

    This is truly a disastrous decision. Agency and temporary workers have been systematically used in local government and the public sector for years now – generally to reduce pay, conditions and pension liabilities, not just to allow employers to test goods and services.They also fill gaps that poor pay and impossible working conditions create – such as in children’s social work. Between 2007 – 8, £800 million was spent by councils in England on agency workers alone – not to mention the £400 million on highly paid ‘consultants’. To deny agency workers promised rights is to accept the casualisation of public sector work and secondary status for large sections of the workforce.

    As for freezing proposed measures to close the gender pay gap….the EEF’s comments say it all!! Of course bonuses are covered by the Equal Pay Act and are included in comparators’ earnings where appropriate!!!

    It’s all depressingly Victorian and just reinforces one of the roots of of the recession – an underpaid, ‘deregulated’ and discriminated against workforce seeking credit, unsafe and second mortgages to enjoy some fruits for their hard labour.I assume that no-one will be asking for their vote!!!

  3. It’s official, regulation is good for business | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC
    Oct 19th 2009, 5:21 pm

    […] a shame the Government hasn’t been able to apply these principles to recent policy on employment rights. Related posts (automatically generated):Tax havens and big business: What’s happened to the […]

  4. The anglo-saxon model continues its slow demise. | ToUChstone blog: A public policy blog from the TUC
    Oct 23rd 2009, 3:04 pm

    […] the remnants of its neo-liberal baggage which still exerts a strong pull as evidenced by the recent decision on workplace rights. Related posts (automatically generated):Public spending debate: the UK economy […]