As you can see, Chancellor George Osborne has lost the plot. Either that he’s playing us all for a fool. Earlier this week at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham he proposed a plan that would allow new workers to swap rights for company shares in an effort to introduce a big deregulation of the labour market. Disguised as an employee-ownership scheme it is essentially asking employees to become slaves to their companies and relinquish their rights and what little sense of job security is left in this economy. As the Guardian reports, Osborne told the conference:
“Workers: replace your old rights of unfair dismissal and redundancy with new rights of ownership. And what will the government do? We will charge no capital gains tax at all on the profit you make on your shares. Zero percent capital gains tax for these new employee-owners. Get shares and become owners of the company you work for. Owners, workers and the taxman, all in it together. Workers of the world unite.”
Why would any sane person waive rights around unfair dismissal, flexible working, time off for training and maternity leave for imagined money? Do not be fooled by the promise of £2,000 – £50,000 which you may never get. Unless that money is sitting safely in your bank account, it’s not yours and is worth nothing to you. And what if the company were to go bankrupt? You will have no job security and will get nothing if you’re fired.
The schemes are targeted at fast-growing and mid-sized companies and will be available from April 2013. They will be voluntary, but only available for new employees and of course I have no say in what you decide for your future but I wouldn’t recommend taking this offer and do not think that it should be compulsory for new hires. Perhaps this might work for start-ups, but I honestly think it would be a mistake for any company to adopt this scheme.