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Union bosses fear changes in unfair dismissal law

4 April 2012

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Changes to the UK’s unfair dismissal legislation will encourage more of a ‘hire and fire’ culture, union execs have warned. 

An increase in the qualifying period for protection from unfair dismissal from one year to two years could place around 2.7 million UK workers at an increased risk of losing their jobs, claimed the Trades Union Congress (TUC). 

The Department for Business said the change will boost recruitment and help companies grow. 

Female workers and employees from black and ethnic (BME) communities are particularly at risk from the reduction in protection from unfair dismissal, claims union bosses. 

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Almost 1.4 million part-time female employees have been with their current employer for less than two years, and only around a third (32 per cent) of all BME employees have had the same employer for less than two years – compared with a quarter (25%) of white employees. 

“The government’s proposals to weaken unfair dismissal rights risk generating a ‘hire and fire’ culture in the UK and will lead to the creation of insecure employment which is here today and gone tomorrow,” said the TUC’s General Secretary Brendan Barber. 

“Cutting back on protection against unfair dismissal will do nothing to boost the economy. If people are constantly in fear of losing their jobs it will lead to even less consumer spending, and losing your job is one of the worst things that can happen to anyone, especially when unemployment is so high.” 

The change in legislation will apply to employees starting employment with a new employer after 6 April 2012.

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