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Lords block shares-for-rights plan

Lords block shares-for-rights plan

So-called shares-for-rights proposals that would see workers give up some employment rights in return for shares in the company they work for have been blocked by the House of Lords. The proposals were criticised by Labour lords as well as peers from Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties.

Under the scheme, employers would be allowed to offer workers shares in their organisation in return for the right to claim unfair dismissal, to be paid a redundancy settlement and to request flexible working and training. Labour’s Lord Adonis said employees would be “adversely affected” by the scheme and the Institute of Employment Rights (IER) said it was a “bonkers” idea. The scheme was defeated by 232 votes to 178, majority 54; however, the government says it will press ahead with the scheme despite peers ditching the proposals.

Carolyn Jones, director of the IER, said: “The ‘rights for sale’ was always a bonkers idea, and one the IER are keen to see kicked into the long grass.” But she added that “even bonkers ideas are often resurrected by this ideologically driven government so we need to remain ever vigilant”.

Michael Fallon, the business minister, said: “Nobody has to take up this right, they can’t be bullied or harassed into it, there is no need for them to take up this right, but equally there is no need for ‘the other place’ to deny them the opportunity if they wish to do so.”

Our Employment team provides advice on the employment aspects of all major business decisions. For advice, contact a member of the team, call us on 01895 207892 or email employment@ibblaw.co.uk.