“There is no doubt it is easier, cheaper and quicker to sack staff in the UK. Just ask anyone who works for Marks and Spencer hit by their recent round of redundancies in Britain or France.
“It is a shame to see UK business leaders describing minimum decent standards for employers to keep their staff informed about their business and to take their views into account as red tape. No doubt there were nineteenth century employers who said ending child chimney sweeps imposed intolerable burdens on business.
“There are two main differences between the limited consultations that occur in the UK and elsewhere in much of Europe. First information and consultation is continuous elsewhere not just after the event when it’s generally too late to consider real alternatives.
“Secondly, as Mark and Spencer discovered, the courts elsewhere get tough with companies that do not consult their staff.
“Of course there are other factors behind recent redundancies such as exchange rate problems and our continuing exclusion from the Euro as the TUC has often said. But there can be no doubt hire and fire is easy in the UK.”