House of Lords rejects plans to give employees shares in exchange for giving up rights at work

Tim Lezard

Big Ben parliamentUnions have welcomed the news members of the House of Lords have rejected George Osborne’s controversial ‘shares for rights’ plan.

The Chancellor wanted to introduce a scheme where employees would give up their rights, including unfair dismissal, redundancy, training and flexible working, in exchange for shares in the company.

But last night the plans were thrown out in the House of Lords. It will be up to MPs whether to try and reinstate them when the Bill returns to the House of Commons.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This proposal was the flagship policy in the Chancellor’s speech to the Conservative Party conference. Indeed in yesterday’s budget he announced further sweeteners.

“This humiliating defeat reflects the near universal thumbs-down it has received from business and unions. Some employers have said that employment rights should not be for sale, and many others have said that they simply see no use for the scheme as anything other than a tax dodge.

“The margin of defeat – a big victory for union campaigning – suggests that ministers should quietly abandon this policy.”

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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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