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Wisconistan, UK
May 12, 2011 8:17 AM   Subscribe

Osborne to target workers' rights with review of employment law "Workers are set to receive less protection against redundancy, dismissal and workplace discrimination as the Chancellor George Osborne tears up sections of employment law so businesses can dispose of their staff more easily." More Here (Times.co. uk - no sub required (at least, not in the uk), and Here.
posted by marienbad (34 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
What a relief, we've moved Wisconsin to the UK!
posted by tomswift at 8:22 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just in time to cut staff posts from the NHS and the Royal Mail more easily when the private sector takes them over, eh? Coincidental.

I dislike how cynical this government is making me about the future of my state.
posted by jaduncan at 8:23 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Now that the local elections are over the lizard men can comfortably peel off their human skins. Any second now the tardis will materialize outside of number ten.
posted by srboisvert at 8:24 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


US and UK: divided by a common languageanti-labor policy
posted by DU at 8:25 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mr Osborne has proposed imposing a cap on awards given in cases of discrimination and abuse in the workplace on the grounds of race or gender.

Wow. That's special. Thank the fates for the supremacy of EU law in this matter. It would be one expensive court case away from reversal.
posted by jaduncan at 8:26 AM on May 12, 2011


I briefly thought you meant Norman Osborne. I thought, for somebody whose alter ego is the Green Goblin, company policies like that can't come as much of a surprise.
posted by mhoye at 8:28 AM on May 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Just in time to cut staff posts from the NHS and the Royal Mail more easily when the private sector takes them over, eh? Coincidental.

I dislike how cynical this government is making me about the future of my state.


Not enough. This isn't to allow the government to fuck over NHS and Royal Mail workers, its to allow any business to fuck over any worker. It's pretty much the same as tory policy 1979-1997.
posted by biffa at 8:35 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


He said that such an approach was needed to help employers in financial difficulty and push the Government's broader aim of supporting private-sector growth.

Yes, that's exactly what the world needs, more protection for businesses. They've been held back by the proletariat for far too long.
posted by londonmark at 8:35 AM on May 12, 2011 [10 favorites]


I knew the Tories were bad, but I never realised they were this bad.
posted by Solomon at 8:38 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


This depresses me more than I can say. I work for a company that two years ago brought in an aggressive, American-style union busting management. Staff here have received big real-terms pay cuts ever since, flouting of collective bargaining rights and arbitrary victimisation of staff.

We have a strong union in terms of numbers... and yet industrial action in the UK is already extremely difficult to take. It takes three months minimum between agreement to ballot and the action itself, by which time whatever it is you're fighting has probabl been imposed.

There's a lot of public sentiment against unions in the UK, mainly because of militant transport sector unions ruining peoples holidays and commutes to work. Most of them would say that unions should be neutered.

But then ask them, do you agree that workers should have protection against bullying employers, who can unilaterally change any aspect of your employment?

"Well, yes."

How about we form an organisation, completely democratic in its foundation, to represent workers in open and constructive negotiations with bosses?

"Sounds reasonable."

You know that's what a union is, right?

Right, I'm off to find a big hill to run up, just so I can shout "Osborne" from the top, a la Rocky IV
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 8:44 AM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


I hate these cunts more than any other administration I've ever suffered under. I hate them more than I hated Thatcher and Tebbitt. I would wish for them to die by fire, but that's too kind.

I want them to be strapped down, then abraded all over with fine-grade sandpaper on an industrial sander, then salted, left alone for a long weekend and then dissolved in acid.

It's the only way to be sure.
posted by Grangousier at 8:44 AM on May 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


They know that they've only got four years, hence the rush job on dismantling the country and selling off everything as quick as possible.
posted by longbaugh at 8:48 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I want them to be strapped down, then abraded all over with fine-grade sandpaper on an industrial sander, then salted, left alone for a long weekend and then dissolved in acid.

or just sentenced to work at Tesco until they are too old and/or sick to continue and then left on the street to beg.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:48 AM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


It seems like the only politics these people know is class war. They have a monomaniacal drive to forward to interests of owners over that of workers. I don't believe in wealth redistribution from the poor to the rich, and we need good labor laws to prevent that. For the first time in my life I actively want to join a union an ensure that these ideologues don't achieve their aims.
posted by Jehan at 8:50 AM on May 12, 2011


I really hope I'm not related to this guy. Because if I am, I'm going to start lying and say that I'm related to Ozzy or Norman.
posted by theichibun at 8:51 AM on May 12, 2011


PS For all non-UK readers of this thread, please bar in mind that George Osborne, the subject of our ire, has no other qualifications for running the economy than being the 18th Baronet of Ballintaylor and Ballylemon and having a BA in Modern History. He has no real-world experience, beginning work at the Conservative Party when he was 23. I honestly believe that anybody commenting in this thread has more economic sense than him.
posted by Jehan at 8:56 AM on May 12, 2011 [15 favorites]


Does anyone else have a sneaking suspicion that all the wealthy and politically powerful people in the world secretly got together and somebody said, "Hey, guys, I bet it would be a laugh if we turned everything into the horrible bleak dystopia we all feared but never thought could possibly come to pass?"

And the assembled wealthy and powerful said "Oh YES! That would be hilarious! Can we do that?"


And then someone said "Oh, yeah. We control the majority of the assets and media. We may encounter some token resistance from those awful poors, but we'll just put them in prison. Nobody will stop us."

And then everyone tilted their heads back and laughed and laughed.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:59 AM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]




PS For all non-UK readers of this thread, please bar in mind that George Osborne, the subject of our ire, has no other qualifications for running the economy than being the 18th Baronet of Ballintaylor and Ballylemon and having a BA in Modern History. He has no real-world experience, beginning work at the Conservative Party when he was 23. I honestly believe that anybody commenting in this thread has more economic sense than him.
posted by Jehan at 10:56 AM


Oh PS, I hear ya. We have an infestation of those here, too. I thought we sprayed for them.
posted by louche mustachio at 9:03 AM on May 12, 2011


Every day there's some new atrocity proposed. Every. Single. Day.
posted by Summer at 9:07 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


or just sentenced to work at Tesco until they are too old and/or sick to continue and then left on the street to beg.

No, because begging on the streets is more than likely where I'll end up when I'm too old to work any more, and I don't want to have to mix with that scum. Acid baths will do fine.
posted by Grangousier at 9:08 AM on May 12, 2011


I just noted the title of the post. It makes me so sad and so angry that my home state is now synonymous with draconian labor regulations and union-busting.

(and proud of a whole lot of Wisconsinites who spoke out, too. *waves little Wisconsin Fist sign for you.*)
posted by louche mustachio at 9:09 AM on May 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Every day there's some new atrocity proposed. Every. Single. Day.

In all seriousness this administration uses the 'door in the face' technique really well. They propose the most outrageous stupid shit and get everyone upset about it for a few days. Then they announce a roll back to slightly less outrageous stupid shit position that suddenly seems like a reasonable compromise. If you go back and look at the papers you will see that they have done this for every single major policy announcement.
posted by srboisvert at 9:24 AM on May 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


I have a strong dislike of unions, given their general use to maintain outdated systems and protect the workshy. But this is an attitude grown in the protective atmosphere of stong employment law, and short sighted actions like this shake my beliefs.

Employers are fickle and will always take advantage of the cheapest resource. Peoples lives require a bit more stability. This action and the ridculous 'apprentiship' schemes they are implementing here can only result in misery for many

Damn those computers/people in foreign countries willing to work for less/imigrants/non doms/the industrial revolution/malthus/bankers

I'm thinking we should all stop going to the movies, watching tv, buying sports tickets and mechandise in order to reduce the number of rich wasters we have to put up with
posted by fistynuts at 9:33 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't Osbourne another Bullingdon Club cunt?

Why, yes he is. I am unsurprised.
posted by longbaugh at 9:37 AM on May 12, 2011


Yes. Basically all their lives they've had great fun smashing places up, leaving daddy to pick up the bill for the destruction. The taxpayers, or what's left of them, will be filling in for daddy here.
posted by Grangousier at 9:44 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Isn't Osbourne another Bullingdon Club cunt?

Why, yes he is. I am unsurprised.


I wonder, you know, if we shouldn't find out the current members of the Bullingdon Club and euthanize them? You know, for the sake of future generations.
posted by Jehan at 10:01 AM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Tory party also want Parliaments fixed at five year terms, so that they don't have to worry so much about the backlash against their deeply unpopular policies.

It never ceases to amaze me that anyone, anywhere would ever vote "conservative" (or whatever the "destroy society and steal from people who actually produce things" party is called where you live).

The sensible and moral response would be to kill them. I am not advocating murder, but I am quite serious that this would be a reasonable response to these people. If you are not a millionaire then they hate you. They are actively seeking to change society in ways that will cause you and your elderly relatives and your children to suffer. They are, in every way that matters, your avowed mortal enemy.

Since we are civilised people the mass slaughter of the Tory party is out of the question. But at the very least, they should be in prison for life - they are absolutely as harmful to the fabric of society as committed multiple murderers. A murderer will kill one person - a Tory can ruin the lives of hundreds of thousands.
posted by lucien_reeve at 11:50 AM on May 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


I honestly thought the LibDems would be a better moderating force on the Tories. Between their tacit shielding of the Conservatives on all fronts and the dismal pro A/V campaign, I don't have a lot of hope for them...or for the UK continuing as the country I daydream about emigrating to when confronted with the unchecked, self-serving avarice of my own government. I used to listen to Today in Parliament podcasts with a hopeful ear. Now it's just confirmation of my cynicism.

And Osborne is a tool (literally and figuratively) and a fitting analog to Walker.
posted by Fezboy! at 1:20 PM on May 12, 2011


I knew the Tories were bad, but I never realised they were this bad.

They're not. They're worse.

He has no real-world experience.

That is so untrue, Jehan. The man who sets economic policy for the nation worked for Selfridges for a few weeks. Folding towels.
posted by reynir at 2:20 PM on May 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes, yes, I'm sure Gordon Brown's work as a lecturer and journalist prepared him for the Treasury.

I think there are various problems with privileges mandated by law for workers:
  • They tend to increase the cost of firing long-term employees over newer employees, which is unfair on the newer employees and economically-inefficient. The rising rate of youth unemployment would seem to make encouraging new hires a priority.
  • They make one wary of recruiting people, knowing all the paperwork and hassle if it doesn't work out (because the industry changes, for example, not necessarily if the person sucks.)
  • It reduces the ability of whole sectors to adjust to changing economic conditions or owners. For example, you're a bank and you have to be bailed out by the state, but find you can't cut the salaries of your useless employees who get to take home enormous paypackets no matter what...

    More generally they favor the have (jobs) over the have-nots (jobs). I think that's why we see higher youth employment and "stickier" employment markets in continental Europe and better more dynamic employment markets in the UK and more especially the USA (until recently, at least...).

    But then again, there's a lot of argument and evidence on either side. Oh, it's all very tricky and multi-factorial. Some countries do well with lots of privileges, some do well with few, and so on. Hard to know, I think.

  • posted by alasdair at 3:29 PM on May 12, 2011


    I think there are various problems with privileges mandated by law for workers:

    They're protections. The laws concerning how employees can be dismissed or made redundant are to protect individuals from summary dismissal or discrimination. It's a political statement to describe them as "privileges", despite potentially innocuous readings of that word. So please don't do that. The employment laws in the UK are currently pretty reasonable for employers, and it's not difficult to get rid of employees who are useless, workshy, or simply no longer needed.
    posted by Jehan at 3:48 PM on May 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


    alasdair:

    For example, you're a bank and you have to be bailed out by the state, but find you can't cut the salaries of your useless employees who get to take home enormous paypackets no matter what...

    this is a flawed example, no matter what the employment law says, contract law says something has to be paid, it has to be paid - as the government found when they tried to retrospectively screw Fred Goodwin (not that I like the guy - but once you sign a contract, thats what it is)

    Employment law (as with the unions before) provides protection to the lower ends of the spectrum. The top echelons don't rely on the existing systems, they operate by contract law (Social Network is a good exampe of this)

    And for me, good, fair employment law is preferable to unions, as law is independent from individual motives (eg Bob Crow)
    posted by fistynuts at 2:18 AM on May 13, 2011


    Jehan: Sure, "protections" is a better term. Thanks. The laws for new hires aren't too onerous. For example, you have a month in which you can decide Fred isn't working out and ask him not to come back: after that it's a month.

    fistynuts: Well, the BBC cited it. And employment law supercedes contract law. But fair enough, grin.

    Here's an odd example of where I think there's some inflexibility in the system. Let's say you work one day a week, paid hourly. I have to give you an afternoon off a month. Sounds reasonable. But what if you don't want the afternoon off? What if you'd rather take the money in lieu? No, sorry, not allowed. So you lose some money, and I lose the ability to know that you will always be there all of Tuesday - one afternoon a month or so you are forbidden from working.

    Yes, of course, we can work round this. Yes, of course, we can schedule this, and it won't make or break the company. But more rules, more regulations, more complexity, more distraction from running the business and making money and competing with the Americans and Europeans and Japanese and Chinese who want to take our market.

    There are winners and losers from regulation, always, and labor market regulation is usually portrayed as "poor workers gain, evil capitalists lose". I don't think it's as simple or easy as that.

    But I don't know what the "right" balance is, even if there is one. I'm happy to look at Osborne's reforms and see what they say.
    posted by alasdair at 9:02 AM on May 13, 2011


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