We need to make it easier for firms to sack workers, claims Conservative chairman Grant Shapps

“There should be a way of saying to people ‘thank you very much, it hasn’t worked out but here’s a decent package for you to move on from this role,’” says top Tory

Nigel Morris
Wednesday 31 July 2013 20:01
The Tory chairman’s comments angered unions
The Tory chairman’s comments angered unions

Companies are forced to invent “disingenuous reasons” to fire staff because employment laws are stacked in favour of staff, the Conservative chairman has claimed.

Grant Shapps indicated a majority Tory government would make it easier for companies to dismiss under-performing workers. Tonight, the party was accused by union chiefs of seeking to strip all protections from employees.

He drew on his experience in business to produce a withering assessment of “crazy” employment laws. Mr Shapps said: “I started a printing company 23 years ago – it still runs to this day – and we always sat there and wondered how it is that when you know that somebody is not working out right for the company, they are just not fitting in to that role, you have to effectively end up coming up with disingenuous reasons why you need to change that role.”

He said employers were forced to argue a position had been axed or a person was so poor at their job that they had to be sacked.

“That means there are only two ways of dealing with wanting to bring a contract to an end. You either have to pretend the role has gone, or you have to fire the person. That is crazy, it doesn’t stack up to what really happens out there in the real world.”

Mr Shapps added: “We should as a country say there should be a way of saying to people ‘thank you very much, it hasn’t worked out but here’s a decent package for you to move on from this role’.”

The TUC’s general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “People at work should be very afraid. Rather than bearing down on workplace abuses like the misuse of zero-hours contracts, Mr Shapps reveals the priority for a Conservative government would be to make it even easier to sack employees.”

Ian Murray, shadow Business Minister, said: “The Government should be making it easier to hire people, not easier to fire people, but now the Tory chairman is raising serious questions about his own record as an employer.”

Mr Shapps founded his company, PrintHouse Corporation, as a 22-year-old. He stepped down as a director four years ago and still holds shares in the firm.

He has faced questions over an online business he set up to sell self-help guides. Under the pseudonym of Michael Green, he claimed people could make $20,000 in 20 days or get their money back.

I will not stand in 2015, says Boris

Boris Johnson has reassured David Cameron’s allies he will not try to return to the Commons at the 2015 general election. The Mayor of London, whose term of office runs out in three years, has also ruled out standing as a Tory candidate in any by-election before 2015, The Spectator said.

His decision is thought to signal he expects Mr Cameron still to be Prime Minister after the election. But he has not abandoned his ambition to lead the party – and expects his main rival to be Theresa May.

Nigel Morris

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