October 26, 2011

Abolition of unfair dismissal laws called ‘madness’

by Jan Harris

A plan to abolish unfair dismissal laws has been called madness by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb, who is also a parliamentary aide to Nick Clegg.

The controversial suggestion, devised by David Cameron’s chief strategist Steve Hilton, was aimed at freeing up business and boosting economic growth.

However, business secretary Vince Cable said it was “unnecessary, based on no evidence and unlikely to improve labour market flexibility”.

The suggestion to abolish the right to claim unfair dismissal, and replace it with the right to claim redundancy, was part of a report prepared by Conservative donor and venture capitalist Adrian Beecroft.

Mr Cable said that the report had not been officially commissioned.

Unfair dismissal rules have already been reformed, with an extension to the qualifying period due to be introduced in April 2012.

This will mean that new employees will be unable to make a claim for unfair dismissal until they have been employed for two years.

They are currently able to make a claim after just one year.

The change has been welcomed by the Forum of Private Business and the British Chambers of Commerce, but was criticised by Brendan Barber, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress as being a “a charter for bad bosses”.

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