The general election campaign has begun with gusto. Each of the main parties have begun to give us a flavour of the policies that will form the legislative intent of their time in Government if they win a majority in May.
The most recent announcement from the Conversation Party is that, if they are elected, they will change the laws on industrial action in relation to public sector workers. The Tories have said that they will introduce legislation which will make it significantly more difficult for public sector workers to take industrial action than other employees. This will create a two tier workforce, which is something that is never justifiable in a united country; it will make working in the public sector even less attractive at a time when we need public sector workers more than ever but when morale within the public sector is at an all-time low after five years of deep austerity cuts affecting wages and conditions; and will be yet another attack on workers’ rights to be added to the litany of similar legislation that the ConDem Government have brought forward during the lifetime of this parliament at Westminster.
During the last five years we have seen the qualifying period for unfair dismissal increased; we have seen the introduction of unfair and iniquitous court fees introduced to the Employment Tribunal system, applying only to claimant employees and not defending employers, as a blatant financial barrier to access to justice; and the virtual removal of the entire Health and Safety Legislation that served to protect employees from workplace injury and disease.
The policy announcement from the Conservatives is a clear signal that more is to come and that if elected we can expect another period of unprecedented parliamentary attacks on the rights of workers.
Sadly, the Conservative Government have turned the basic human rights to be safe at work; to be free from discrimination and mistreatment in the workplace; and to have access to justice into a political football.
As far as this firm is concerned, however, these rights are basic and inalienable. They are nothing to do with the myth of the compensation culture of holding employers to ransom. They are about basic safety and fairness at work.
Accordingly, we call upon the next Government to reverse the anti-worker legislation that the ConDem Government have introduced; and to restore fairness and balance to employment relations in this country.