TUC condemns ‘back-to-front’ approach to workplace disputes

New
laws being introduced to resolve disputes in the workplace will create
confusion and uncertainty for employees and staff, according to the TUC.

The
TUC claims that draft regulations, designed to implement the Employment Act
2002, break the Government’s promise to introduce an obligation on all
employers to use a minimum three-step procedure to deal with disciplinary or
grievance issues.

Under
the new regulations, employees will not have a contractual right to use the
three-step procedure (written grievance, hearing and appeal) and the procedures
will not apply to oral and written warnings or suspensions.

The
TUC believes employers will have no duty to use the procedures to deal with
day-to-day workplace issues and in practice the procedures will only apply when
an employer has already decided to sack someone.

TUC
general secretary Brendan Barber said: "The opportunity to set up a
proactive, universal system for solving problems in the workplace before they
escalate has been squandered.

"Unions
have shown that you reduce tribunals by building fair and open procedures for
solving work problems at work," he said. "The Government’s
back-to-front approach of throwing up as many hurdles to justice as possible
removes the right to a fair hearing and is likely to backfire."

By Michael Millar

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