Employers’ body calls for law to “tackle trade union militancy”
Labour & European Law Review Weekly Issue 318 09 May 2013
Although no detail of what regulation the Bill will target was available as LELR was posted, the employers’ body had earlier called for three very contentious pieces of legislation to be introduced.
These included a demand for “compensated no fault dismissal” as proposed by Adrian Beecroft in his review of employment law, a proposal that was rejected as a step too far even for this government.
The Institute argued that the changes are necessary to address the problem of “over-regulation” and to tackle “the damaging effects of increasing trade union militancy”.
It claimed that “through a series of mergers, the trade unions have become divorced from their original purpose, no longer representing workers from specific industries and able to cause disruption beyond the site of the original dispute.
“The Government should give powers to an organisation like the Competition Commission to investigate union mergers. Recent industrial action based on small turn-outs also makes the case for a change to the law.”
The three Bills the IoD proposed were:
- The ‘Beyond Beecroft’ Bill which would introduce “compensated no-fault dismissal”; a three-month notice period for employees who do not wish to return from maternity leave; and enshrine the government’s One-In, Two-out regulatory principle so that “businesses feel that the tide has turned on regulation”.
- The ‘Too Big to Strike’ Bill so that only strikes backed by the majority of a union’s members could take place.
- The ‘Midas’ Bill to strip back the “gold-plating” of European directives that have been implemented far too “zealously” by successive governments. In future it wants governments to make clear that only the minimum required by the directive will be brought into UK law.
Victoria Phillips, head of employment law at Thompsons said: “Clearly the IoD won’t give up union-bashing while it thinks the wind is behind it. But given that a key part of the original purpose of trade unions was collective action in the absence of other influence over injustice in working life, the organisation seems to be arguing against itself. The fact is that trade union members have fewer rights to take industrial action than they did over a hundred years ago and the number of days lost to strikes are a fraction of what they were in the 1970s and 80s.”