TUC calls for unfair dismissal rights from day one

Millions of workers lack basic protections if they lose their jobs in the coming months, the TUC has claimed, pointing to analysis showing that 7.5 million employees (one in four) began this year with no protection from unfair dismissal.   

Under current law workers must be employed for two years to qualify for unfair dismissal protection but the TUC believes that this should be a first-day-in-the-job right.

People working in industries hit hardest by the pandemic – such as hospitality and retail – are most at risk of missing out on key protections, it points out, with 45 per cent of hospitality staff having not been in their jobs long enough to qualify for unfair dismissal rights. 

The TUC goes on to highlight that young workers are most at risk of not being protected from unfair dismissal. More than half (56 per cent) of 20 to 24 year-olds and 40 per cent of 25 to 29 year-olds do not qualify for protection.

It also paints a bleak picture with regard to many BME workers pointing to figures showing that 33 per cent have no protection from unfair dismissal, compared to a quarter (25 per cent) of white workers.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: 'The Government must do everything possible to stop mass unemployment. This includes strengthening protections at work so people can’t be sacked unfairly. No-one should be treated like disposable labour.'

The TUC is calling on the Government to:

  • reform the qualifying period for unfair dismissal;
  • ban zero-hours contracts;
  • introduce genuine two-way flexibility by giving workers a default right to work flexibly from the first day in the job, with all jobs being advertised as flexible;
  • create good quality jobs by fast-tracking £85 billion of spending on green infrastructure; and
  • establish a national recovery council, made up of businesses and unions alongside the government, to steer the recovery effort.

It remains to be seen if the government will act on this. Nevertheless, organisations should keep up to date with all developments. 

Source: CIPD

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