New attacks

If the Tories and their boss friends think they can get away with murder, then they will go for it. They are always on the look-out for new ways to attack the working class. A leaked letter written by Ian Lang, president of the Board of Trade, reveals the sheer extent of the Tories’ ruthlessness.

In his letter Lang revealed that Michael Heseltine was plotting to remove all employment protection rights for up to 10 million employees working in small firms. This was to be achieved by barring access to industrial tribunals for workers employed by firms which employ 20 or fewer employees. By all accounts, Heseltine wanted to make this ‘reform’ a centrepiece of a small business conference convened by the Institute of Directors this Monday.

John Major did beat a hasty retreat when the plans went public. However, Downing Street later confirmed that the proposals were under “active consideration” in Whitehall. Unsurprisingly, Ian Hanford of the Federation of Small Businesses said he was “absolutely delighted” by Heseltine’s draconian scheme.

If Heseltine and the Federation of Small Businesses got what they wanted, this would amount to an enormous assault on the working class - such proposals would deprive workers in 90% of firms of the right to go to tribunals despite a threefold rise in cases over the past six years. Four in every ten industrial tribunal claims are lodged by firms with fewer than 24 employees, and as it stands now unfair dismissal cases are very hard to win. If you do win, the awards are puny, averaging around £3,000.

Lang’s leaked letter shows us that the future is bleak unless we fight now.

Eddie Ford