-Greece shows there is a better way
It can be said without much fear of contradiction that no other nation has suffered because of the financial crisis more than Greece; and that the austerity measures imposed upon the Greek citizens has been the most severe throughout the European Union. The austerity cuts in Greece have been extremely deep, painful and, it would seem to an outsider, has been most damaging to the poor within the country.
The election of a new Prime Minister in the form of Alexis Tsipras has given new hope to the people of Greece. He has promised a new, more socially responsible approach to dealing with his nation's debt. He accepts that debts must be repaid but not at the cost of human dignity or social cohesion and he has promised to take immediate steps to redress the worst social impact of austerity in a way that is both socially and financially responsible. Electricity supply will be returned to those too poor to meet their bills and the large numbers of state employees who were sacked will be returned to employment.
With the 2015 General Election now less than one hundred days away, I hope that there will be a lesson for British politicians in all of this. Supporting employment, protecting workers’ rights and safety is surely a better way to achieve a fair and balanced economy equipped to outgrow the legacy of the financial crisis; and to achieve a buoyant economy in which there are fair and balanced industrial relations.
Over the last five years, the ConDem coalition government have followed policies which have not just restricted but significantly eroded the rights of employees through, for example, changes to the employment tribunal system, employment laws and health and safety provisions. Those changes in the name of austerity and promoting economic have been counter-productive and dangerous.
Like Greece, the UK requires a fresh approach from a new government which will ensure that our workers are protected at work and fairly treated by their employer by reversing the worst excesses of legislative changes over the last five years. A safe workforce with proper employment rights will always be more productive and will drive the economy to benefit of everyone.
Thompsons Solicitors call for all parties to adopt policies of fair work and safe work in their 2015 manifestos.