September 16, 2021

First with the Alderney News

Employment laws: A step away from second class citizenship

3 min read

Alderney has no employment or discrimination laws (outside of the Human Rights (Bailiwick of Guernsey) Law 2000 which only applies to public authorities) and that lack is fossilising us in the face of progress. Proposals to introduce employment legislation should be welcomed, contrary to Mr Hill’s opinion piece published recently.

Within the Bailiwick, Alderney residents are second class citizens with less legal rights than our Guernsey counterparts. One reason that Alderney has missed out on discrimination laws (such as the Sex Discrimination (Employment) (Guernsey) Ordinance 2005) and is missing out on their proposed expansion is because of our archaic legal landscape. Alderney is missing out on needed protections because previous States have rejected opportunities to implement such laws in line with Guernsey and in doing so have worked against the best interests of working residents.

The introduction of employment legislation is not a ‘leap into a commercial abyss’ as Mr Hill stated, it is standard practice in developed countries including our own Bailiwick. Employment laws do not kill flexibility, as Mr Hill claimed, and the entrepreneurial spirit is not dependent on the ability to exploit workers. It will still be perfectly possible to hire gig workers as is the practice elsewhere. Mr Hill’s claim that youth unemployment will rocket following the introduction of employment laws is based on his misplaced comparison between Alderney and the EU and backed up with no evidence.

In 2018-19, I experienced sexual harassment at work in the UK. Because of employment and discrimination laws, I was able to pursue a claim to the Employment tribunal and vindicate my rights. According to Mr Hill, as a ‘previously litigious applicant’ I am unemployable and will spend my life living on unemployment benefits and the pay-out (he has wholly misjudged the size of settlements of this type). My very existence proves him wrong.

Workplace discrimination and harassment happens in Alderney (I cannot give names for confidentiality reasons) yet there is no resolution or solution for the affected. Because previous States did not take the opportunity to implement employment laws when Guernsey did, we are now missing out on needed discrimination legislation. Again, Alderney falls behind and fails its own residents.

Mr Hill accused Alderney workers of drunkenness and self-entitlement.

This is an unfounded attack and sounds like an extract from Brittania Unchained. We should take note of the polarisation of UK and US politics and avoid demonising a sector of our population, especially one that pays taxes here.

I counter Mr Hill’s fragile link between employment laws, youth unemployment and depopulation with an alternative view. Why would working families move to an island where they will lose rights? Where they can be fired for the colour of their skin, their gender or sexuality? Where their children can be sexually harassed and exploited at work with no recourse?

Alderney girl and award-winning law student at the University of Essex

Please note: Opinion Articles, such as this one, are the opinion of their respective authors and must not be taken as being the viewpoint of AY News.Our editorial policy is to report objectively on news, and to publish a variety of articles which are representative of the wide spectrum of viewpoints within the Alderney community. Accordingly, we welcome submissions from all parts of the political landscape and from all sides on any issue. Should you have any issue you have views on that you want to get out to the AY News readership, we will be delighted to hear from you. Our submission address is editor@aynews.gg

5 thoughts on “Employment laws: A step away from second class citizenship

  1. In reply to Miss Doardo: Spanish youth unemployment figures between the age of 18-50 are 46%. I lived and worked in Spain for 20 years and I saw the ravages of labour law on local employment.

    I never condone sexual harassment in the work place. It goes without saying that all sexual aggression in the work place should be reported to the relevant authorities.

    I was very explicit to say that a “small minority” of workers and went to pains to point out that the majority of workers were hard working and diligent

    Finally, as she so readily points out, this is a major implementation of law with far reaching implications. Until I dared to raise the subject, in the media, this was going to pass without debate or scrutiny from those who might be affected except for a last minute chat in the people’s meeting billet at a time when businesses are still reeling from the effects of a 5 week lockdown.

    Ultimately businesses will decide who is right and wrong in this argument with how they manage their future employment quotas.. I pray for everyone’s sake that I am wrong in my predictions, though I am mot holding my breath.

  2. It is obviously true that over regulation could lead to a loss of viable businesses on a small island like Alderney, however basic human rights so an employee can be free from sexual harassment and discrimination (for whatever reason) cannot be ignored based on an imagined financial basis, anyone who argues otherwise is basically suing it’s OK to be bigot as long as I’m making money for the island, I’m not sure that’s the image Alderney wants to present to the world.

  3. The proposed law simply gives workers the right to an employment contract and particulars of employment.
    See http://www.alderney.gov.gg/article/176125/Press-Release—Employment-Law or read the full draft.
    No minimum wage, equal pay, holiday, maternity, paternity or other rights and protections seen elsewhere are in this bill.
    Just the basic right to a written contract. The minimum one can expect of a civilized society is that those party to a contract of employment are provided with a written form of it. This will make little difference to any employer who is as good as their word.
    In reality only unscrupulous employers (and I hope there are none on Alderney) have have anything to be concerned about.

  4. Alderney require some basic employment law structure exmpting business with say less than 5 employees, if only to mitigate the risk of ambulance chasing lawyers bring a class action against the States under “Human Rights Legislation” outside the Bailiwick- a very costly and embarrassing distraction.

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