Head of employers’ group the CBI has attacked the new Information and Consultation regulations which have been passed as law today, 6 April, referring to them as ‘irrelevant’.
As of 6 April, companies with 150 or more employees must act upon an employee request to be informed and consulted on major employment issues. The request must be made by at least 10% of employees in the organisation (subject to a minimum of 15 employees and a maximum of 2,500 employees).
The legislation will include companies with 100 or more employees in April 2007, and those with 50 or more in April 2008.
But according to CBI Director General, Sir Digby Jones the new laws are not relevant:
"Few employers have to be told it's good business practice to make sure staff know what's going on and they don't need legislation to make them do it.
"The rules rightly avoid imposing costly, one-size-fits-all structures on companies when they are not wanted.
"They only kick-in if negotiations on how employees should be involved in the business fail. In reality it will rarely come to that. And they won't allow a vociferous minority of employees to upset existing arrangements or hand new power to unions when that isn't supported by the bulk of the workforce.”
In a warning to the unions, Digby Jones ‘hoped’ that they would not, “play the old game of using well intentioned legislation to grab more power, to the detriment of efficient businesses."
Businesses who fail to meet the new obligations could face fines of up to £75,000, but despite the financial penalties 74% are far from ready to meet the new obligations.