Growth and Infrastructure Bill — Commons Amendments

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 24th April 2013.

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Photo of Baroness Turner of Camden Baroness Turner of Camden Labour 6:15 pm, 24th April 2013

My Lords, I also agree that substantial concessions have been made, which have been spelt out by the noble Lord. On the other hand, the basic problem still exists in my mind. There are already co-partnership schemes through which employees can have shares and can participate in their companies. However, they can do so in many instances without surrendering important employment rights. That is the important thing. Why do you have to surrender employment rights, which have been in existence for many years and have been struggled for by previous generations, to participate in a shareholding scheme? I do not understand that unless this really is, as I originally believed, one of the moves that the Government are making, as they do not like employment rights all that much, to ensure that employment rights are surrendered without appearing to remove them. Employees can be persuaded, under these arrangements, to give up employment rights voluntarily in return for a shareholding scheme.

I still feel very unhappy about this. Unions will not be happy about it either. The basic point here is the surrender of rights in return for shareholding. I still do not think it is appropriate. Shareholding schemes can exist without that and do exist in many places. For those reasons, I express great concern, although I understand that quite substantial concessions have been made. The core problem, as far as I can see, is the surrender of employment rights for something that may be quite worthless when it really comes to it.