Scrap unfair dismissal claims for lazy workers

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Unproductive workers should lose their right to claim unfair dismissal, a leaked government report says.

The report – commissioned by the prime minister – argues this would mean more capable people would replace those sacked, boosting economic growth.

The Daily Telegraph quoted the report as saying that under current rules workers are allowed to “coast along” with some proving impossible to sack. Downing Street says changes to unfair dismissal rules are “unlikely”.

Currently, workers who feel they were unfairly dismissed can make a claim after 12 months in a job. The report – which has not been made public – was written by Adrian Beecroft, a venture capitalist and Conservative Party donor.

The coalition government has previously stated it is committed to reforming employment laws. Chancellor George Osborne recently announced new measures aimed at restricting the number of unfair dismissal claims. He announced that, from April 2011, an applicant must have been in their job for at least two years before being able to make a claim for unfair dismissal.

However, Mr Beecroft’s report goes further – calling for an end to unfair dismissal, a regulation that the report’s author thinks is particularly abused by some in the public sector.

The Daily Telegraph says a final draft of the document, dated 12 October 2011, argues the first major issue for British enterprise is “the terrible impact of the current unfair dismissal rules on the efficiency and hence competitiveness of our businesses, and on the effectiveness and cost of our public services.”

Mr Cameron and others in the cabinet are considering the recommendations. But Downing Street sources told BBC political correspondent Robin Brant no decisions had been made, and added it is “unlikely we would go further on unfair dismissal”.

Sarah Veale, head of the equality and employment rights department at the TUC, described the proposals as “profoundly unjust” and said Mr Cameron should “throw the report straight in the bin”.

“We think it’s offensive to huge numbers of hard-working people and actually I would also think it was offensive to the majority of employers who treat their staff fairly,” Ms Veale told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“I really do wish that the government would stop going on about how if you reduce employment protection laws somehow it will make the economy boom again and create growth – it’s absolute rubbish.”

There were less than a million unfair dismissal claims last year which was “absolutely nothing” out of a large workforce, said Ms Veale.