Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

One of the benefits of blogging, as I see it, is the instantaneousness of publishing. As an avid reader of many blogs that means instant access to lots of interesting analysis and comment on policy developments – often better than what can be found in more traditional media such as newspapers.

A topic that has generated a lot of debate recently is that of the Beecroft report into Employment Law. This report includes recommendations to:

  • introduce compensated no-fault dismissals;
  • reduce the consultation period for collective redundancies in some instances; and 
  • revoke the third-party harassment provisions that were set out in the Equality Act 2010.

This report has motivated a lot of great blog posts such as these by Burdz Eye View, A Range of Reasonable Responses, Xpert HR  and Flip Chart Fairy Tales.

As well as the content of the report, the way in which it was developed, and the purpose of the report has come under some scrutiny. In particular I have found it interesting to reflect on the Politics of I Met a Man or the related phenomenon of Policy-Based Evidence.

In terms of content many readers of the report have focused on the recommendation to deregulate the labour market including the specific proposal for ‘no-fault dismissals’. Whilst Beecroft has argued that such moves would stimulate job creation and boost economic growth others have pointed to the lack of evidence to support this assertion. Interestingly the EEF manufacturers’ association has recently come out against the recommendations in the report.

However, to what extent is the whole report a bit of a red-herring? I do wonder whether the focus on this has been a bit of a distraction from more substantive moves by intergovernmental organisations, such as the UN, World Trade Organisation and the OECD, and international financial institutions, such as the World Bank and IMF, to promote job creation as a solution to the financial crisis.

What has not been so widely discussed, given the faith in job creation as a panacea, is what types of jobs should be created? Presumably not the sort where unpaid workers have to sleep below London Bridge.

This is something I am very interested in, in terms of ongoing policy developments and the relationship with debates in economics about the nature of work. The importance of good work is something highlighted in this Work Foundation blog post and I will be writing more about this in weeks to come.

Published by iancelliott

Senior Lecturer and Director of Education (PGT) at Northumbria University, Newcastle. Chair of the UK Joint University Council (JUC). Interested in all things public service.

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