With the Government having unveiled plans to overhaul employment tribunals and make other changes to employment law, Denise Keating, CEO of leading age campaigners, the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion (enei) says:
“Vince Cable’s statement and speech today may have been regarded generally as good news for employers, but in reality we think that it’s too early to tell whether the Government’s plans will do much to reduce the volume of workplace disputes or the costs of dealing with claims.
“Although the expansion of mediation services is a welcome step towards avoiding costly and time consuming litigation, we are unconvinced that it will become an accepted part of the dispute resolution process, especially for smaller employers, in the short to medium term.
“There is no doubt that claims in the employment tribunals – which stood at 218,000 in the year to March 2011 – are at a high level, but unfair dismissal claims account for less than a quarter of the total, and were actually lower than in the previous two years. Although it was opposed by the majority of those responding to the consultation, the Government is nonetheless proceeding to increase the qualifying period for such claims from one to two years despite the fact that on its own revised estimates this will reduce the number of such claims by less than 3,200 a year.
“While the Government says that it does not consider that the increase in the qualifying period will have considerable disparity of impact on any particular group, we believe there may well be an unintended consequence for youth unemployment: one of our legal partners, Lewis Silkin LLP, has estimated that whereas nearly half of all under 20s currently qualify for unfair dismissal rights, this will reduce to just one in five.
“The proposal that all employment tribunal claims should be mandatorily referred in the first instance to Acas for early conciliation makes good sense (providing the necessary additional resources are made available), as does the idea of simplifying the use of settlement agreements. However, we have real concerns that the developing idea of “protected conversations” will be a licence for employers seeking to use them as an excuse for continued poor line management processes. And we believe that given the employment relationship is based on ‘mutual trust and confidence’ this approach will undermine employee rights, particularly where discrimination claims are concerned.
“Any details following a review of the tribunal process will have to wait for the outcome of Mr Justice Underhill’s fundamental review next April, although it’s encouraging to see that changes in relation to witness statements and employment judges sitting alone, for example, will be taken forward at an early opportunity. And we welcome the concept that a rapid resolution scheme might be developed to enable the resolution of more straightforward claims without resort to an employment tribunal.”
Judgement day - 19 March 2012
Eat Well Live Well project worker position in Barnet - Age UK - 22 February 2012
Job market remains toughest for older workers. - 01 December 2011
Campaigns & Issues
Woodland Court staff face secure future thanks to Brunelcare
Residents and staff at a retirement village in Downend have finally reached the end of two years of uncertainty, following the acquisition of Woodland Court by Brunelcare.
Previous owners of the 57 apartment village, Care Village Group, went into administration in June 2011, leaving the residents and staff with an uncertain future.
The top priority for the Bristol based charity has been to retain all 27 members of staff to ensure that the support services are maintained, whilst minimising any disruption to the residents.
Stamping their feet
THOUSANDS OF Post Office staff have taken part in strikes across the country following a dispute about closures, jobs and pay.
A staggering 88 per cent of Communication Workers Union members voted in favour of strike action, following a refusal from the Post Office to negotiate terms.
The 4,000 workers, from 373 offices, took part in the strikes in opposition to plans to close 76 offices.
They hope to protect jobs and services and secure a fair pay rise for Post Office staff - who have not had a wage increase since April 2011.
Competitions & Fun
Win a Doro PhoneEasy 515 handset!
We’ve teamed up with Doro to give four very lucky Mature Times readers the chance to win a Doro PhoneEasy 515 mobile phone.
The Doro PhoneEasy 515 has been designed to provide an easy-to-use mobile for people who might find mainstream handsets difficult or confusing to use. This beautifully stylish candybar phone features an easy-to-use camera enabling you to capture those spontaneous photos quickly and easily before sharing them with others.
The Doro PhoneEasy 515 has several user-friendly functions including a direct SMS key and a charging cradle to make charging hassle free. It also has a large keypad, enlarged text for easy dialing and messaging and a loud, clear sound.
Win a prize at home or away in this month's prize draw with Silver Travel Advisor!
Enter now and you could win a prize at home or away! How about a 7 night break for 2, with flights included, in beautiful Slovenia? Or a trip to London’s glitzy theatreland, staying in a 4* hotel? Both fabulous treats which must be won!
Silver Travel Advisor is a friendly website packed with advice, tips, information and honest reviews written by and for silver travellers (aged over 50). A team of advisors are on hand to answer queries (for free), and you can share your own experiences too.
Health & Wellbeing
Loneliness is a ‘ticking time bomb’
One in three people over the age of 50 struggles with loneliness – fuelled partly by a rise in later life divorces, according to an official study. Figures show almost seven million members of the baby-boomer generation and above admit to feeling lonely.
Research published as part of David Cameron’s plan to measure the nation’s ‘happiness’ said almost half of people over 80 feel lonely - many “much of the time”.
Campaigns groups say the study, by the Office for National Statistics, suggests the generation approaching retirement will be a “loneliness time bomb”.
Property & Finance
15 per cent of population claim financial worries are affecting their health
aspect of their lives
Leisure and Lifestyle
Singing you heart out
Music sensation Billy Ocean takes time out talk to Laura Heads about the release of his latest album and how making music has changed dramatically during his 40 year career.
The star has sold over 30 million records in his lifetime and has collected a pile of Gold and Platinum awards across the world. Billy’s unique reggae infused voice and musical style, representing his Trinidadian roots, are recognisable anywhere and it is that which has earned him his well-deserved number ones.
And the well-loved singer-song writer said that the way music is made has changed a lot since he first began in the 1970s. He said: “Music is now controlled by technology. New artists allow technology to control what they are doing.
New guide to travel insurance launched
THIS IS A handy to use and easy to read guide packed with tips aimed at helping older travellers when considering the purchase of travel insurance.
The guide came about as a result of the numerous enquiries we received here at the Mature Times’ offices regarding travel insurance for older people. MT Editor Andrew Young says ‘We receive many, many e-mails, letters and telephone calls from our readers regarding this subject. We know that as you get older travel insurance becomes more expensive, but there are ways that you can try to help offset some of these increases – and this guide can help you do that.’
Again no paper to beat Mature Times from day one of first publication all inside we need - thanks to all!