Our rights at work under attack

14 Sep

Today the coalition Business Secretary, Vince Cable announced measures to reduce access to tribunals and cuts to the compensation for workers who are found to have been mistreated by their employers. This is just another raft in a long line of attacks on employment rights as part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Helen Symons has set out what’s happening and – importantly – what we can do about it:

The attack on our rights at work is growing.

On Monday, new Tory Business Minister Michael Fallon went on the Today programme and pledged the government would be “going further” to remove the protections working people rely on.

He made clear that this week they will announce new proposals to “deregulate further” in this area: it is quite possible we will see a proposal along the lines of Tory Donor Adrian Beecroft’s call to make it much easier to fire people.

That is on top of the radical changes this Government is already making to our rights at work.

In a few weeks time, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill will come back to the House of Commons. That Bill has been described as ‘Beecroft by the back door’.

Will you email your MP now and ask them to vote against the Enterprise Bill when it comes back to Parliament?


The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill waters down many of our rights at work.

It throws up barriers that make it harder for people to access justice if they have been treated unfairly at work, lowers the amount of compensation working people can receive, and introduces “settlement agreements” – making it easier for employers to offer employees money to leave. If employees reject a settlement agreement, they won’t be able to use the discussion about it as evidence in an employment tribunal.

The product of these complex clauses in the Bill, combined with the fact the Government are also going to start charging fees for employment tribunals, has been termed ‘Beecroft Lite’. Many people will agree to a poorly-compensated ‘settlement agreement’, as for many accessing justice will seem too complicated and expensive.

When Beecroft appeared as a witness to the Bill Committee, Tory MP Julian Smith let the cat out of the bag, saying that settlement agreements “are a good halfway house regarding some of the proposals you made”.

We don’t know what the new Business Minister is going to come out with later this week, but we do already know that the Enterprise Bill is going to radically reduce our rights at work, and reduce job security even further.

Email your MP now and tell them that they need to vote ‘no’ to the Enterprise Bill when it comes back to the Commons in a few weeks.


Our rights at work are deliberately being hacked away at bit by bit, led by Ministers across lots of Departments. It’s intentionally complicated, making it hard to see what the combined attacks will mean for our rights. But our response is not complicated – it is simple: working people will not stand for these attacks on our rights at work.

Join our campaign now.

Helen Symons

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