Orders of the Day — Employment Relations Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:56 pm on 9th February 1999.

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Photo of Judy Mallaber Judy Mallaber Labour, Amber Valley 7:56 pm, 9th February 1999

No; I do not have very much time, as many other hon. Members wish to speak.

Earlier in the debate, hon. Members—particularly my hon. Friends the Members for Rochdale (Lorna Fitzsimons) and for Glasgow, Pollok (Mr. Davidson)—stated clearly why family-friendly policies are necessary if we are to have a modern economy, modern businesses and modern employment conditions. The fact is that employers require a highly motivated, flexible and well-trained work force. Moreover, businesses pay a cost if they lose employees because they have not been sufficiently flexible in allowing employees to stay in employment.

I have run an organisation, on a tight budget, of 20 employees. I did what I could to be flexible in assisting employees when they had a domestic crisis. If their request was daft, I told them so, and that they could not have the time off. I should say that, as the Bill does not contain any daft provisions, passing the Bill will not encourage problems. The point is that I did not want to lose staff members who were trained and good employees because I could not provide them with a flexible employment relationship.