Business lobbying group the Institute of Directors (IoD) has outlined a series of controversial plans for employment law reform, claiming current provisions are weighted against companies.

In its latest growth plan, the organisation called on the government to free up green belt land for new construction projects, scrap the right to flexible working and end collective pay bargaining in the education and health sectors.

“By adopting these measures, the government’s growth strategy would be enhanced immediately. We urge ministers to seize this opportunity,” said IoD director general Miles Templeman.

However, the proposals almost immediately came under fire from trade unions, with TUC general secretary Brendan Barber accusing the IoD of living in a “Thatcherite fantasy world” and claiming the body was bent on a “race to the bottom” over NHS pay and conditions.

The government’s plans to offload publicly-owned forests to private firms have also attracted criticism in recent weeks, with environment secretary Caroline Spelman telling the BBC over the weekend that the sell-off was “not a done deal”.

Posted by Ross George