At yesterday’s Manufacturing Summit at the Motor Heritage Centre in Gaydon, in a lacklustre speech (not surprising give the events of the week), the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg made a passing remark in his speech to UK manufacturers: “This is a Government that is doing things differently, limited by the circumstances we inherited, driven by our mission to build a stronger economy in a fairer society for the long term. The facts speak for themselves. More companies were set up in 2011 than ever before. Our changes to employment law mean we have one of the most flexible employment frameworks in Europe.”
In taking questions I challenged the DPM to demonstrate how many new jobs had been created by ‘Our’ (ie the Coalition’s) changes to to employment law in manufacturing. He couldn’t – and waffled that employers had told him and the Government that is what they wanted.
Not what they told me Nick!
The ‘shares for rights scheme’, where workers in small companies can sell their employment rights for a small share option, is a laughing stock among employers and employment lawyers.
The fact is that many employers and their organisations, in discussing the question privately with me afterwards said they don’t want anymore changes to employment law and they were irrelevant to their needs.
And as if to underline this – just take a look at the poll being run by the respected magazine The Manufacturer in answer to the question: “Will the upcoming changes to the employment tribunal rules (including upfront tribunal fees and mandatory early conciliation) encourage you to hire more employees?” Answer No 67%, Possibly 25%, Yes, 8%.