Prospect writes to Business Secretary demanding action on multinationals and the Retained EU Law Bill

20 February 2023

Prospect has written to the new Secretary of State for Business and Trade Kemi Badenoch to highlight concerns about the way some businesses approach redundancy, and about the forthcoming Retained EU Law Bill.

The letter from Prospect general secretary Mike Clancy pointed to the examples of Twitter and Spotify where scant attention was paid to UK employment law, echoing the behaviour of P&O who laid off its workforce with no notice.

The letter asks for a meeting and says:

In particular, we are deeply concerned that big tech firms are increasingly following P&O’s lead in riding roughshod over existing UK employment procedures and protections for redundancies, including the need to properly consult and select those affected in a fair and non-discriminatory way.

It should be a basic principle that companies who trade in the UK – no matter their owner or size – follow both the letter and the spirit of UK employment law. This is a matter of basic fairness for workers, but also ensures a level playing field for all companies.

The letter then calls for clear action to address this approach to UK rules:

It is self-evident that the ability to pursue an injunction where a failure to follow the law is apprehended would transform how these situations are handled. It is the lack of adequate prospective remedy that provides the conditions for unacceptable practices to develop. This would not impact the many good employers who handle change well, but it would deter those intent on autocratic decision-making.

The letter goes on to express concern about the potential impact of the Retained EU Law Bill on working practices, the regulation of hazardous industries and on employment rights:

Fundamental workers’ rights such as the right to paid holiday, limits to working time, parental leave and maternity rights would be due to sunset under the proposed legislation. Also included are essential health and safety provisions, including in the nuclear sector, where we represent over 12,000 workers.

Particular concern was expressed about the speed with which the Bill is being progressed and the letter pointed to the range of institutions who agree with that position, from unions to the Institute of Directors and the CIPD.

Download and read the whole letter (PDF) from the Prospect Library.

Share our letter with your MP asking them to oppose the passing of the Retained EU Law Bill