The 1965 Redundancy Payments Act was amended by the 1975 Employment Protection Act to give substantial rights to trade unions to challenge managerial decisions on redundancies. These included advance warning of impending redundancies, the right to make representations to the employer, and to receive the employer′s reply. Cabinet ministers, introducing the legislation, felt that it would generate negotiations either to quash the redundancies or to provide alternative solutions to impending job losses. In investigating 74 incidences of redundancy, covering 10,500 workers, it was found that these rights have, for the most part, merely oiled the process of managerial decisions over redundancies, by enjoining trade unions to such decisions; decisions on which they have no real impact. Rights for trade unions, then, in practice translate to gains for employers. An important caveat to this situation occurs where an agreement on redundancies exists, generally giving workers substantial benefits, although there are still too many trade union officials and employers who do not wish to sign such agreements.
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