Lancashire TelegraphEast Lancashire MP backs ‘rights for cash’ scheme (From Lancashire Telegraph)

When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.

East Lancashire MP backs ‘rights for cash’ scheme

EAST LANCASHIRE MP Gordon Birtwistle has told how he gave up holiday and sick pay to save for the deposit on his first house.

The Burnley Liberal Democrat used the example to defend the government’s plan to allow workers to swap rights for company shares.

Blackburn with Darwen council’s Labour leader Kate Hollern accused Mr Birtwistle of talking “nonsense” and trying to take Britain back to the 19th century rather than his 1960s youth.

The 70-year-old MP last night published his contribution to the Parliamentary debate on the proposals on his website as the Growth and Infrastructure Bill moves to the House of Lords.

Under the plan workers will be able to give up maternity rights and all access to unfair dismissal tribunals for shares between £2,000 and £50,000, with gains exempt from tax.

Mr Birtwistle said: “I believe in freedom of choice. If an individual wishes to work for a company on such a contract, they should be able to do so.

“That will not be the case in the big industries.

“This scheme is for small niche companies in the high-risk sectors.

“I think back to the 1960s when I was 24 and I had just come out of my apprenticeship. I went for a job as a contract draughtsman. I was offered two options by the company.

“It said I could have all the schemes it had, such as holiday pay and a contract for 44 hours of work a week and I would have a fixed rate.

“Alternatively, they said I could have none of those schemes and have four shillings an hour more. I was keen to earn extra money, because I wanted to save up and put a deposit down on a house, so I decided to take extra money for working as many hours as I wished.

“I did that for two years and managed to raise enough money for a deposit.”

Coun Hollern said: “This is utter nonsense. Gordon wants to take us back to the 1860s, not 1960s.

“These are hard-won workers’ rights that should not be given up for a gamble on shares.”

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

3:11pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Kevin, Colne says...

I despair of the Liberal-Democrats, I do really. If this is typical of the quality of the debate then we’re in very deep trouble.

Look, surrendering hard-won employment rights for shares is not the same as choosing between different rates of pay.

In fact the two are like chalk and cheese.

A share means that you become a part-owner of the business; and that’s a very different thing altogether.
If the company is successful and prospers you will reap a reward, if it flounders you lose your job and quite possibly a sizeable investment.

A share is not necessarily a gamble but anyone contemplating this move needs to be an astute judge of a business and its prospects and of the concepts of value and risk. The fact that they are an existing employee of the company provides no guarantee of such knowledge, as the former employees of Enron and Northern Rock can testify.

In any case many companies provide advantageous share-ownership schemes for employees that although subject to taxation do not involve surrendering rights of employment that previous parliaments deemed should apply universally.

It’s interesting and rather telling that if you are an ordinary employee the Coalition Government promote a scheme whereby you must surrender rights in exchange for ownership, while the baords of directors of FTSE-100 companies awarded chief executives share options in addition to pay while retaining their employment rights.

The Coalition is floundering and its leaders are clutching at straws.

This policy is entirely in keeping with Conservative doctrine: one set of rule for the rich, another set of rules for the plebs.
I despair of the Liberal-Democrats, I do really. If this is typical of the quality of the debate then we’re in very deep trouble. Look, surrendering hard-won employment rights for shares is not the same as choosing between different rates of pay. In fact the two are like chalk and cheese. A share means that you become a part-owner of the business; and that’s a very different thing altogether. If the company is successful and prospers you will reap a reward, if it flounders you lose your job and quite possibly a sizeable investment. A share is not necessarily a gamble but anyone contemplating this move needs to be an astute judge of a business and its prospects and of the concepts of value and risk. The fact that they are an existing employee of the company provides no guarantee of such knowledge, as the former employees of Enron and Northern Rock can testify. In any case many companies provide advantageous share-ownership schemes for employees that although subject to taxation do not involve surrendering rights of employment that previous parliaments deemed should apply universally. It’s interesting and rather telling that if you are an ordinary employee the Coalition Government promote a scheme whereby you must surrender rights in exchange for ownership, while the baords of directors of FTSE-100 companies awarded chief executives share options in addition to pay while retaining their employment rights. The Coalition is floundering and its leaders are clutching at straws. This policy is entirely in keeping with Conservative doctrine: one set of rule for the rich, another set of rules for the plebs. Kevin, Colne
  • Score: 0

3:27pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Malthus says...

It seems that he is showing his true political colours. Obviously, he is going to retire at the next election, as he knows full well that he nor his party, have a cat in hells chance of ever being a political force again. He also states he only did this for two years. I would bet that an opt back in to employment rights clause, will not be part of anyone's contract should they be fool enough to accept it.
It seems that he is showing his true political colours. Obviously, he is going to retire at the next election, as he knows full well that he nor his party, have a cat in hells chance of ever being a political force again. He also states he only did this for two years. I would bet that an opt back in to employment rights clause, will not be part of anyone's contract should they be fool enough to accept it. Malthus
  • Score: 0

3:31pm Fri 4 Jan 13

mavrick says...

Usual nonsense being spouted by an out of touch 70 year old M.P who should have retired 5 years ago. of course on his gravy train why would he not want to keep working.motivated by greed.
Usual nonsense being spouted by an out of touch 70 year old M.P who should have retired 5 years ago. of course on his gravy train why would he not want to keep working.motivated by greed. mavrick
  • Score: 0

4:06pm Fri 4 Jan 13

tonygreaves says...

Everyone knows that this is a Tory idea that was put forward as a quid pro quo, in the coalition, for important Liberal policies the Tories did not want. It's already been diluted so that employees have a right to refuse without "being subject to a detriment by any act or any deliberate failure to act by the employee's employer, done on the ground that the employee refused to accept an offer by the employer for the employee to become an employee shareholder" - a safeguard gained by Liberal Democrats in the Commons.

The Bill starts in the Lords on Tuesday and we will be looking for more changes to this proposal.

Employee shareholding is often a very good thing, but not at the expense of losing hard-won basic rights.

Tony Greaves
Everyone knows that this is a Tory idea that was put forward as a quid pro quo, in the coalition, for important Liberal policies the Tories did not want. It's already been diluted so that employees have a right to refuse without "being subject to a detriment by any act or any deliberate failure to act by the employee's employer, done on the ground that the employee refused to accept an offer by the employer for the employee to become an employee shareholder" - a safeguard gained by Liberal Democrats in the Commons. The Bill starts in the Lords on Tuesday and we will be looking for more changes to this proposal. Employee shareholding is often a very good thing, but not at the expense of losing hard-won basic rights. Tony Greaves tonygreaves
  • Score: 0

4:22pm Fri 4 Jan 13

frank says...

they'll be bringing in a law for chimneys on all new houses next so that thay can send toddlers up them for work experience.
they'll be bringing in a law for chimneys on all new houses next so that thay can send toddlers up them for work experience. frank
  • Score: 0

5:09pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Begbie says...

Con/Dem vermin.Pregnant women down the the pit next pulling carts? Veterans turning in their graves as we speak.
It's not what the war was won for Gordon!
Con/Dem vermin.Pregnant women down the the pit next pulling carts? Veterans turning in their graves as we speak. It's not what the war was won for Gordon! Begbie
  • Score: 0

11:19pm Fri 4 Jan 13

psch says...

Another crackpot scheme from this government and serious questions should be asked about the capabilities of any worker who participates in such a scheme.
I have share options as part of my remuneration package and I am in the know about future conditions affecting the health of the company and I aren't daft enough to hang on to the shares for a substantial period after exercising the options. It is just plain stupid not to diversify your investments and hang onto shares which are subject to closed periods.

Shares with restrictions and little knowledge of the future aren't worth it for the normal worker
Another crackpot scheme from this government and serious questions should be asked about the capabilities of any worker who participates in such a scheme. I have share options as part of my remuneration package and I am in the know about future conditions affecting the health of the company and I aren't daft enough to hang on to the shares for a substantial period after exercising the options. It is just plain stupid not to diversify your investments and hang onto shares which are subject to closed periods. Shares with restrictions and little knowledge of the future aren't worth it for the normal worker psch
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree