Shares for rights voted down for a second time

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voteThe Government’s “shares for rights” scheme has been rejected by the House of Lords for the second time, just weeks after previously voting to remove it from a Government Bill.

Yesterday (22 April), peers once again refused to support his plan to allow workers to swap employee rights in return for shares, and voted to throw out the scheme.

It has been revealed that they voted by 260 to 191, a majority of 69, to reject the clause when presented with the bill for a second time.

During the debate, QC and independent crossbencher, Lord Pannick, labelled the scheme “unrealistic” and warned it would be “damaging to industrial harmony to allow employers to buy off basic employment rights” such as the right to statutory redundancy pay and the right for parents and other carers to request flexible working.

He added that it “frustrates the very purpose of employment rights” and insisted it could not be right to allow an employer and an employee to contract out of rights which Parliament had seen fit to guarantee.

However, Business Minister, Viscount Younger of Leckie, claimed the new employment status was “wholly voluntary” and people could not be forced into accepting revised contracts.

He acknowledged the new option would be “right for some but not all” and told peers that by offering more choice to employers and employees it would be “good for growth”.

As a result of the vote, a number of amendments have been put forward by the Government, on top of other concessions that had previously been made. The amended bill will now be debated further in the House of Commons before being returned to the House of Lords.

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