TUPE confusion halts public/private progress

The
Government’s attempts to use the private sector to deliver public services are
being undermined by its failure to clarify the law protecting staff terms and
conditions when they are transferred between organisations.

Exclusive
research by Pinsents reveals employers involved in public private partnerships
(PPPs), private finance initiatives (PFIs) and outsourcing are wasting time and
money because of the DTI’s failure to reform the Transfer of Undertakings
(Protection of Employment) regulations (TUPE).

The
research, based on a survey of 262 HR professionals, reveals that 60 per cent
of respondents believe TUPE has increased transaction costs. A similar
proportion blame TUPE for slowing down the sale or purchase of businesses or
outsourcing deals.

Just
over 12 per cent say TUPE has actually halted transactions.

In
February, DTI secretary Patricia Hewitt said new TUPE regulations would be
published in draft form in early 2003, with a view to putting them before
Parliament in the autumn. TUPE reform was expected in June 2001.

John
McMullen, national head of employment law at Pinsents said: “At the moment, we
don’t have a harmonised situation where TUPE works simply and in all
situations.”

Anders
Wallin, HR director at Group 4 Falck Global Solutions, wants the Government to
clarify and strengthen TUPE regulations.

“Promoting fair pay in employment conditions is an essential
part of improving the overall quality of public private partnerships,” he said.

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