Labour Research (November 2012)


Employment rights assault

Unions have slammed the chancellor’s proposals to allow employers to trade workers rights in exchange for shares in the company.

In a keynote speech at the Conservative party conference last month chancellor George Osborne described plans for a new owner-employee scheme. In exchange for receiving between £2,000 and £50,000 of shares which would be exempt from capital gains tax, employees would give up rights, including being able to claim unfair dismissal after two years in a job; the right to statutory redundancy payments; the statutory right to request flexible working or time to train; and have to give just eight weeks’ notice of their intent to return from parental leave — instead of the current 16 weeks’ notice.

While this scheme is voluntary for existing employees, new recruits may have no choice on having to give up their employment rights in exchange for the shares. It is expected to come into force next April.

Paul Kenny, the general secretary of the GMB general union, said: “Slashing people’s employment rights under the guise of ownership schemes won’t create jobs and it won’t create growth.

“His attempts to dupe the electorate that he knows what he is doing have been rumbled. George Osborne has as much knowledge about economics as a stick of rhubarb.”

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