Is the proposal to abolish Unfair Dismissal part of a wish list to Santa Claus?

The paucity of detail in the extracts of Mr. Beecroft’s proposal to scrap the concept of unfair dismissal, recently leaked to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, is lamentable.

The final paragraph of the extract states that “the downside of the proposal is that some people would be dismissed simply because their employer did not like them”, is described as “a price worth paying”. The report also proposes that employers be allowed to suggest that an employee “be given time to improve or transferred to a less demanding job at a lower wage”- effectively seeking to empower employers to demote staff and unilaterally reduce their pay because they do not like them.

The Ministry of Justice might want to see if it can negotiate a bulk purchase of advertising space for more employment tribunal administrative staff, and employment tribunal judges, because if these ramshackle proposals see the light of day again they may well need them.

Although only two pages of the leaked report have been published on the Daily Telegraph web site – the introduction and the executive summary – Page two of the executive summary teases us with the promise of yet more to come by boldly declaring that: “two areas stand out as being the keys to encouraging growth and employment”; and then only listing one proposal – to scrap unfair dismissal. Perhaps the second proposal is being saved for a special wish list to Santa Claus?

The leaked extracts will do little more than confuse the general public and spread a contagion of fear in the work force.

Philip Henson, Partner and Head of Employment Law, Bargate Murray.