Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A Tyranny of the Employers?

Once again, the siren voices call out for reform of employment law. And without too much surprise, plans to reform the employment tribunal system has been included in today's Queen's Speech.

The preamble to the constitution states that we exist to build a fair society.

Employment Tribunals on the whole deal with Discrimination cases and unfair dismissal cases.

I heard Lorely Burt MP at last year's Lib Dem East of England Regional Conference speaking of vexatious and malicious applications but offered no facts and figures to support this.

As the TUC says: "The clue is in the name. Employers already have plenty of powers to make fair dismissals."

On the whole, employers do treat employees fairly already under existing law. But where employers do not treat employees fairly, then it is right for the employee to have recourse. This measure creates a problem to be solved rather than being a solution to a problem and by its very nature illiberal.

The liberal approach is to be fair to employer and employees, tilting the balance one way or another does not fulfill this aim.

Just as much as there are rights and responsibilities on both side in a employer/employee relationship under existing relationships, we must be just as careful not to create a tyranny of the employers as a tyranny of the workers.

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