Dear Mr Byers
We are writing to raise concerns among members of the human resources profession about the review of the laws on employee consultation on redundancies, which you announced in the House of Commons in mid January. The review is intended to establish if the laws requiring consultation "in good time" are working and whether more should be done to promote effective consultation with employees.
Readers of Personnel Today, the leading business news magazine for the HR profession, are concerned that the review could amount to a PR exercise for the Government, designed to counter criticisms that ministers have not done enough to prevent large-scale redundancies.
HR professionals are concerned about two principle issues: the vagueness of the proposed review, and your failure to open up the discussions to the HR profession. On the first issue, we know the review is going to take four months, but there are no terms of reference and no clear objectives.
What has particularly angered the profession, however, is the decision to consult only with the CBI and the TUC. HR directors at companies such as Vauxhall are directly responsible for developing effective consultation with staff, and have the experience to understand the challenges in implementing good staff consultation. A failure to take their experience into account in the review will lead to unworkable regulations that will adversely affect business performance and employee relations.
It is surprising, therefore, that your review will not seek the opinion of the CIPD, which represents the profession. For its part, Personnel Today will forward the views of HR professionals directly to your department if you decide to widen the consultation to include HR practitioners.
Personnel Today believes the DTI review of staff consultation should:
- Have a specific time frame and objectives
- Take into account the global economic conditions before recommending any changes to rules on employee consultation
- Set out principles that employers should abide by when announcing redundancies, but ensure these are flexible enough to suit the different situations in industry sectors
- Make clear how the EU dir