Workplace rights are under attack. The coalition government has made it easier for employers to sack staff and harder for workers to take claims for bad treatment to an employment tribunal. Maternity rights are at risk and health and safety protection under fire.
But this is not a head-on, big-bang assault. Instead rights are being sliced away bit by bit. It's a stealth attack - and even many union activists hadn't noticed what was at stake until the Beecroft report was leaked.
That is why the TUC and Britain's trade unions are launching a major campaign against the changes today.
Our message is that employee rights stop employment wrongs. We need to make people aware of what they have already lost - and what they might lose in the future. Even if Adrian Beecroft and his supporters do not get all they want, employee rights are already being chipped away.
We must not let the strong right-wing lobby within the government that opposes rights at work win the day. They have opposed every advance for working people - the minimum wage, paid holidays and protection for agency workers.
They think they can use the economic crash as an excuse to roll back rights at work - policies they know would be rejected at an election. They say that cutting rights will help the economy grow - but history and other countries show that simply isn't true.
And while some business organisations always cheer on attacks on employee rights, others oppose them or say that they are not what is holding back company growth.
This is a campaign where we can achieve victories. Vince Cable's strong statements show that the coalition is split on many of these issues.
When you ask real businesses about the problems they face, they hardly mention employment rights. The Small Business Barometer commissioned by the Department for Business (BIS) asked 500 small and medium-sized businesses about their main obstacles to success.
Nearly half said the state of the economy. Next came getting banks to lend. And regulation came at the end after taxation, cash flow and competition. Only 6 per cent said regulation was their main barrier to growth.
Those who attack employment rights say that workplace rights hold back the economy, destroy jobs and stop growth.
But they say that every time people at work get a better deal. They said the minimum wage would destroy millions of jobs, just as their predecessors opposed 19th-century laws to outlaw child chimney sweeps. It did not, and no mainstream politician now dares oppose it.
The argument for scrapping rights goes that if you make it easy to fire, employers will be quick to hire. But neither argument stacks up.
Workers in Britain get worse rights than in many other countries. The OECD international organisation says that out of the world's 36 richest countries the UK has the second-worst level of employee protection. Only the US comes below us.
Employment rose after the UK introduced the minimum wage, new trade union rights and guaranteed holidays under the last government. The worldwide economic crash was caused by not enough regulation - not too much.
And easy fire in the hope of easy hire does not help the economy. Instead it makes the economy unstable.
If at the first sign of a downturn employers start sacking people, it makes an economic crisis more likely. The newly unemployed will stop spending and even those who still have jobs will batten down the hatches.
Scrapping rights at work will make economic recovery harder. The more people fear for their jobs, the less likely they are to spend. And that makes companies reluctant to invest.
Instead of growth you get a vicious circle of economic decline.
Norman Lamb MP, before he became the minister responsible for these issues, was right to dismiss the Beecroft Report by saying: "It is likely to have the unintended consequence of destabilising consumer confidence at a very difficult time. If every employee in the land faced the prospect that they could be removed arbitrarily, the destabilising effect could be devastating."
The nasty party thinks it can use the economic crash as an excuse for attacking the rights it hates. Everyone is desperate for economic growth, and its argument that work rights stand in the way of new jobs has growing support in government, even though there is no evidence to back up this claim.
Indeed people frightened of losing their jobs are less likely to spend, and without willing customers companies will not invest.
Already new workers have to wait two years before they get protection from unfair dismissal. Maternity rights are under threat. Staff in small businesses risk becoming second-class citizen at work, losing rights overnight if an organisation goes from 11 to 10 staff.
While some business groups cheer these, sensible employers understand that they have nothing to fear from fair treatment at work as that's how you get the best from your staff.
But our enemies are clever. They are not calling for a bonfire of rights, but trying to slice them away bit by bit hoping that few will notice.
That is why we need this TUC campaign. We want everyone who wants to defend decency at work to sign up not just to our petition but to keep in touch so we can alert as many as possible when each new threat appears and get maximum support for future campaign initiatives.
Morning Star readers can show their support by signing up at www.stopemploymentwrongs.org.uk, spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter, keeping in touch with their own union's campaign and never forgetting - employee rights stop employment wrongs.
Brendan Barber is general secretary of the TUC.
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