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Dutch employment reform mirrors Beecroft Report; still bad idea

Posted by: Laurence Simons 11/06/12

Employment tribunal experts could be in for a boost, though.

"Hey, you know what would make the economy better?" thinks Adrian Beecroft, sitting at his desk and pondering his homework. Adrian is a venture capitalist and Conservative Party advisor, inexplicably tasked with writing a report on the theme of 'How to Make the Economy Better'. It's due in tomorrow. He is pondering. He has written 'bring back child labour' but crossed it out in pencil. "I know," he legitimately thinks, "the economy would be just way better if you could fire people from their jobs at will!" He then writes the report, types it up neatly for submission, and then promptly half of both the UK government and media has conniptions over the damn thing. 

Are you unsure how Beecroft thinks making people really easy to dismiss will improve the country's job prospects? Well, join the Adrian Beecroft Club. After failing to provide any supporting evidence that might back up his suggestion, Beecroft instead told the Telegraph that he'd once had a kind of hard time dismissing someone and he reckons the whole country could do without that sort of agg. "We had an HR man who was very good at the technical stuff, but hopeless with people, so we dismissed him," he told the newspaper. "He sued us for discrimination."

The irony of Adrian Beecroft having to pay a man £150,000 because he was 'not good with people' aside, it seems the Dutch are already ahead on the redundancy reform ticket: changes to employment law are set to transform the way people get fired in the Netherlands. As Volkskrant reports, reforms are set to be introduced that will allow companies to dismiss staff without official permissions, with workers having to go to actual, real-life court - rather than have an impromptu showdown in a meeting room with someone out of HR - in an effort to fight the decision. Other than that, it's sitting on the sofa and watching the Dutch equivalent of Jeremy Kyle for many.

Despite the furore sparked by the mere suggestion of a similar law in the UK, this one seems to be going ahead. Social affairs minister Henk Kamp is said to be working on how to prevent large corporations - you know, with their teams of lawyers and intimate knowledge of legal loopholes - from exploiting the law, but once it's been batted around by Dutch ministers little later this month it's expected to be implemented by 2014. Good news for those with legal jobs in the Netherlands. Not so much for people with, you know, any other job.