CWU slams attack on equality and workers’ rights
16th May 2012
The CWU has reacted angrily to yesterday's (Tuesday)
announcement that the government intends to further corrode the
rights of British workers by cutting the Equality and Human Rights
Commission (EHRC) budget and support for victims of discrimination
in the workplace.
Attempting to disguise this attack on workers by presenting it as an attempt to tackle an allegedly over-bureaucratic process, Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Theresa May, said: "Bureaucracy and prescription are no routes to equality. Over-burdening businesses benefits no-one."
However, CWU national equality officer Linda
Roy responded by saying: "The announcement yesterday
is yet another fudge by the coalition Government in relation to its
shambolic commitment to equality. It goes to show just how
unhealthy the influence of the CBI over the Government has become
since the Tories came into power.
"Working class people are seeing announcement after announcement attacking their hard-earned working rights. These are being savagely worn away by a Government who has no real care for workers. Their only concern is to help big business, making it easier to hire and fire whoever an employer pleases.
"The Government's attack on the EHRC and the news that its helpline is to be outsourced beggars belief," she continued. "Yet again, the veiled intention of the Government is that those most vulnerable in society will suffer as a result of this announcement. After the recent news which confirmed the closure of the REMPLOY factories, I suppose nothing will now surprise us as every worker will be seen as fair game by Cameron and Osbourne".
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber
also expressed concern, saying: "These cuts will mean more bad
policy making which will further alienate those who are already
bearing the brunt of the Government's austerity programme.
The measures announced include:
- Repealing employment tribunals' 'wider recommendations' powers, which will remove the power of tribunals to recommend the introduction of, or changes to, policies that affect all of an employer's staff - not just the employee who brought the case. A consultation on this change is launched today.
- Repealing 'unnecessary' powers and duties from the EHRC under the 2006 Equality Act and reviewing its remaining budget - which was cut by over half just two years ago.
- Repealing third-party harassment law, which will ensure employers are no longer liable for the harassment of an employee by a third party - such as a customer. A consultation on this change is launched today.
- Reviewing the public-sector equality duty and repealing the socio-economic duty - legal obligations on public bodies to consider the impact of their decisions on different groups in society.