Government urged to ditch ‘ludicrous’ shares for right...

Government urged to ditch ‘ludicrous’ shares for rights scheme as opposition grows

24 April 2013

The government 's attempts to breathe life into its ‘ludicrous’ share for rights scheme are desperate and embarrassing, says Britain’s biggest union, Unite.

Branding the government’s concession of free legal advice as meaningless, the union urged the House of Lords to stand firm as the government looks to push the scheme through parliament today (Wednesday 24 April).

Commenting, Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said: “Government concessions to save face are meaningless. They will do nothing to protect vulnerable workers and will only saddle businesses with costly legal bills.

“Those desperate for work will still face the invidious choice of signing their rights away to get work and put food on the table.

“The Lords - including arch-Thatcherites such as Michael Forsyth - have agreed with business that this 'sell your rights for pennies' plan is ludicrous. This is an absurd policy without friends and which makes absolutely no sense. 
“In the week when our deficit grew, borrowing is up and the IMF tells Osborne to change tack, the government ought to be embarrassed by this shoddy, desperate effort to recover the economy.
“Business confidence will not return because people can sign over their basic protections. The government needs to accept what  business, workers and even its own peers know – that selling your rights at work is no plan to kick start growth.”

Government attempts to push through the legislation comes despite John Cridland, CBI director general, describing it as “a niche idea and irrelevant to all businesses” and Justin King, CEO of J Sainsbury, saying that this policy “is not what we should be doing” and asking “what do you think the population at large will think of businesses that want to trade employment rights for money?”


For more information please contact Alex Flynn on 020 3371 2066 or 07967 665 869.

Notes to editors: 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.