Unite: Unfair dismissal changes are part of a joined-up attack on workers’ rights

Unite, Britain's biggest union, says that the government's plan to cap compensation for unfair dismissal is part of a joined-up attack on workers' rights which is turning ordinary working people into scapegoats for the coalition's economic mismanagement.

In a ministerial statement today (17 January) the government will announce plans to introduce a 12 month pay cap on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal. It has already increased the qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal from one to two years.

The government is in the process of implementing other changes to employment law which will allow employers to hold 'privileged conversations' with employees – a move which Unite has branded a 'licence to bully'. The Government will also bring in excessive fees to prevent individuals from taking claims to an employment tribunal in the first case. Taken together these measures are a massive attack on workers' rights on a scale not seen in decades.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said:

"These changes are part of a joined-up attack on workers' rights on a scale not seen in decades. The truth is that the coalition is turning ordinary hard-working people into scapegoats for the government's disastrous handling of the economy.

"This government is trying to blame our hard won rights at work for Britain's economic problems. Worse rights at work will not prevent a triple dip recession or create a single job.

"The government's systematic attack on workers' rights makes being a member of a trade union more important than ever before. There is a growing  culture of fear and insecurity in workplaces up and down the country. Thousands of jobs have been lost in the past two weeks and the measures the government is trying to introduce would not have saved a single one."


Contact: Ciaran Naidoo on 07768 931 315

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.