Not so long ago people were concerned that the retirement age was forever creeping up higher and higher. Many people felt that their retirement would be just a few short years by the time they can hang up their city hats and call it day. However, these days of austerity and economic catastrophe have led to a new concern – employers are going to have greater opportunity to discriminate against age.
Of course, no business will ever admit that it will even consider such a thing. But as someone who worked in The City for over decade I can say that in many areas the older generation are not wanted. All too often people over the age of 50 are moved from the dynamic and exciting jobs that they have been specialised for years to mundane, often pointless and always thankless tasks which are apparently designed to cause brain rot and insanity.
Well, maybe soon businesses will not have to sideline their staff. Instead they will be able to just give them a negative appraisal and sack them on the spot.
What is most shocking about this news is the Nick Clegg, leader of the liberal dems, champion of the welfare state and support for the elderly, is behind the changes. Nick Clegg said that managers should be able to have “frank discussions” with their staff – there was not actually any mention of age. However, many managers will see this as an invitation from Whitehall to cull the oldies, cut out the (not quite) dead wood and get in some younger, cheaper and less experienced workers.
The TUC general secretary pointed out that it will give managers the go-ahead to bully and intimidate staff. Although to be fair, the managers have been doing this very well for years anyway and HR departments are notorious for taking the side of the management in just about all disputes.
Nick Clegg has said that the idea is so that managers and staff will be able to “to treat each other like human beings and not like potential litigants“. What a noble idea! However, how often does a dismissal end in litigation at the moment? Not often. Few people have the time, energy, money or know-how to take their company to court over an unfair dismissal. Besides, as soon as there is even a half decent payout all talks seem to be off the cards, regardless if you are still keen to work but find yourself unemployable!
The buzzword is “protected conversations”. The idea that managers could invite an employee in for a “protected conversation”, give them hell, bully them, make false accusations, give poor appraisal and generalyl make stuff up, and the employees get to sit their and keep very quiet for fear of being dismissed. If they speak out then it will be dismissal for breaching the terms of the “protested conversation”.
Another wonderful idea to give make life harder for the already over worked, stressed and bullied work force.
Why does Britain put up with it? According to the European Commission and the Workplace Employee Relations Survey, Britons work longer hours than any other country in Europe. We have a worse work-life balance, many people face the highest commuting costs and most stressful working conditions. It is estimated that 1 in 3 Britons are overworked. Managers are always looking for ways to squeeze more life out of their workers and now they will have the freedom to say “sorry, you are under-performing, you’re fired.”
Thanks Nick Clegg.
Hey, good news for shareholders I guess!
More on this from around the web:
- Older and underperforming workers face sack – telegraph.co.uk – older? did he really say, “older”?
- Old slackers face the boot: Bosses get new powers to tell workers to retire – thisislondon.co.uk