Employees in dark over consultation rights

Almost three-quarters (74%) of employees are not aware of new rights to be consulted on major employment issues in the workplace, according to new research.

Despite this, the survey by business adviser Croner found that more than three-quarters (76%) of the 790 respondents said they would like to have the opportunity to express an opinion about major issues surrounding their employment.

From 6 April, employers ignoring requests from at least 10% of their workforce to set up formal information and consultation processes will face fines of up to £75,000, and the imposition of a ‘straitjacket’ government information and consultation model.

If such a request is made, employers will be obliged to inform and consult on areas such as employees’ prospects for employment and any substantial changes to work organisation or contractual relations.

Andrew Auld, HR development manager at Croner, said companies should set up proactive channels of communication and that the legislation was a good opportunity to address internal communications needs.

“Allowing TV or radio to take the place of good HR practice could see the employer facing grave fines, or having their name dragged through the media mud – with potential negative impact on their share price and reputation,” he said.

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