red Vince?

Posted: May 24, 2012 in This is the Voice of Lefty Reason

More strange mixed messages from the LibCons this week.  Cam commissioned a report into the British Labour Market which concluded that the stripping of workers rights would help get the country out of recession.  Then along comes Vince Cable to tell us that “scaring the wits out of employees” is not the way forward. The author of the report (winning this weeks “you couldn’t make it up” prize) then labelled Vince as “anti-business” and (even worse) a socialist. From the industrial revolution when workers were exploited by owners of the means of production, through to the seventies when it seemed Trade Unions had gained the upper hand, to today’s suggestion that worker’s rights are harming British competitiveness, the British worker has  always had an uneasy relationship with his employer.  The lack of health and safety law, minimum wage legislation and legal summary dismissal does give countries such as China a vast advantage in the global marketplace and British firms struggle with rising input and labour costs.  It has been telling in the latest bout of recession and austerity that the Unions have, largely, remained quiet; perhaps falling membership and influence have driven this non-militant stance.  The refrain that “our workers are our biggest asset” will no doubt be wheeled out again as entrepreneurs are encouraged to dismiss workers in the guise of flexibility; the proposed changes will possibly make firms a little more competitive through decreased costs but the workers who will have no job security or ability to plan for the future will be the unseen cost.  The rise and rise of “mac-jobs” so-called because of their short term, temporary and low paid nature is the very opposite of the job-for-life and security that Britons once enjoyed.  Perhaps “Red” Vince has a masterstroke up his sleeve?


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