Chuka Umunna MP, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, commenting on today's Financial Times report that Ministers have delayed a consultation on scrapping employee rights for workers in small companies until after the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference, said:
“At a time when the unemployment is increasing and when many who are in work feel insecure because of the economic climate, people will find it distasteful that employee rights are being treated as a political football by the Lib Dems and Tories.
“With unemployment at a 16 year high and record levels of youth unemployment, ministers should be making it easier to hire, not easier to fire people. Attacking employees’ rights is no substitute for the effective growth strategy which we so desperately need. Labour’s five point plan for jobs and growth would help employers by giving small firms taking on extra workers a one year National Insurance tax break, and repeating the bankers’ bonus tax to create 100,000 jobs for our young people.
“The Government is tied to an austerity plan that is hurting but not working, wedded to the old orthodoxies which don’t serve the interests of British business or the economy as a whole. The reason that growth has flat lined is not because of the unfair dismissal regime but because the Government is cutting spending and raising taxes too far and too fast, hitting business confidence and choking off growth. Labour is not opposed to reforming the way in which employment tribunals work to improve things for both employees and employers, but the idea of abolishing unfair dismissal altogether is not acceptable and shows just how out of date and out of touch ministers are.”