That employer charter…

Been a little busy recently; hence the lack of posts for a while…

One thing I have been catching upon, however, is BIS’s publication last week of its draft employer charter. I had spotted the headline issue at the time – the withdrawal of the right to claim unfair dismissal (other than in discrimination cases) unless you have been employed for two years* – but the charter was new to me until today.

Apart from its abuse of the English language (continuing the ConDem tradition in this respect) – charters, historically, represent social progress rather than a menu of what you can do in the workplace to undermine it – I love the charter.

I think trade unions should embrace this – not so much to lambast it, although that is certainly one option – but as an extremely effective recruiting sergeant. Handing the charter out to non-members with a simple message to say:

Look at what employers can already to you – and that’s before the ConDems start attacking your rights at work. Join the union and make sure you’re protected

seems a very powerful message about the importance of joining the union. If I wasn’t already a committed and engaged member, I’d certainly be asking where I should sign.

* Attacking workers rights in a recession is a typically Tory agenda approach to life (which the LibDems appear to share). Yet, there is no evidence that it will actually increase employment and it is likely that, regardless of the promise, vulnerable workers will be most harshly affected. And the notion that you can’t be unfairly dismissed unless you can fulfil a two-year service criterion is, quite simply, bizarre. It will remove essential employment rights from 12% of employees at a stroke, and providing encouragement to poor employers will do nothing for jobs.

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