TUC fears bill will allow employers to exploit loophole

Unions
are unhappy with measures outlined in the new Employment Bill which they claim
will weaken workers’ rights to challenge dismissals.

The
TUC claims that the proposal to allow employment tribunals to overlook minor
procedural errors by organisations when sacking an employee will further tip
the balance in favour of the employer.

John
Monks, the TUC’s general secretary, commented, "We have some concerns
about the new proposal that ‘minor’ breaches of the procedures, which employers
need to follow when dismissing staff, will no longer matter.

"This
sends the wrong message to employers, some of whom will inevitably try to
exploit this loophole. It is far better to have clear rules that everyone
understands."

Monks
stressed that overall there was much in the bill that the TUC supported.

"In
general, this bill represents a step forward for employment relations," he
said.

"We
welcome the requirement for companies to have proper grievance and disciplinary
procedures based on the widely respected Acas code. This will help resolve
problems in the workplace rather than in tribunals.

"One
concern, however, is that the new proposals should not disadvantage workers in
small companies complaining of difficult issues such as sexual harassment. New
procedures should not punish them at tribunal if they have not raised the matter
directly with the harasser."

By Ben Willmott

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