CBI plans to keep close eye on potential law changes

The CBI has pledged to keep its guard up against further employment legislation after a senior trade union figure warned that the fight for tougher laws was far from over.

The government announced a raft of employment legislation in recent weeks, including an extension of the right to request flexible working plans to give agency workers equal rights to permanent staff after 12 weeks in a job, new diversity legislation in the Equality Bill and the opportunity for all staff to request time off for training.

Business secretary John Hutton then announced that the government was satisfied that it had got employment legislation in this country right.

But after Alan Ritchie, general secretary of construction union Ucatt, accused Hutton of “losing touch with reality”,the employers’ group said it would be watching developments closely.

Susan Anderson, director of HR policy at the CBI, told Personnel Today: “It was encouraging that the secretary of state said more employment legislation is not the way forward.

“If properly enforced, existing regulations offer a good level of protection to workers. John Hutton was spot on when he said that the most important right is the right is to work.

“Labour market flexibility has played a key role in the sustained success of the UK economy, but in recent years, it has steadily been eroded,” she said. “Employers will now be watching policy-makers closely to ensure their actions match their words.”

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