Union disappointment at Employment Relations Act decision

There
will be no wholesale changes to the practical application of the Employment
Relations Act, the Government announced today, despite a long wish list from
unions.

Employment
Relations Minister, Alan Johnson, said the Act’s recognition procedure has operated
smoothly and successfully, so major changes are not necessary.

Johnson
was launching a consultation document which sets out the how the Employment
Relations Act 1999 should be amended.

The
Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) said it has mixed feelings over
announcement.

David
Yeandle, EEF deputy director of employment policy, said: "This lengthy and
detailed consultation document is something of a curate’s egg, as it helpfully
rejects some of the more worrying changes to the Act that had been put forward
although there are, equally, some aspects with which we are disappointed. The
Government must ensure any amendments that are subsequently made to the Act
improve its operation in a practical way and avoid changes that could damage
the industrial relations climate."

The
GMB union said it was angry no major changes were included.

John
Edmonds, general secretary of the GMB said: "The Government has
capitulated to the demands of the CBI and left workers vulnerable by not
strengthening union recognition rights or protecting workers while they are on
a legal strike.

"This
Government needs to decide if they are the party for British workers and
therefore stand up for worker’s rights, or they are the party for the fat cats
– and leave British workers susceptible to harassment and mistreatment in the
workplace."

By Ross Wigham

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