How many staff sacked by Labour under the parliamentary permament probation period

Back on 6 May, Darien Fenton announced:

Staff for Members of Parliament will now face the 90 day no rights trial period, unless they are employed to work for , says Darien Fenton, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues.

“Labour does not believe that 90 day trial period is fair, justified or needed and our caucus has unanimously resolved that no Labour MP or manager will accept a 90 day trial period as part of the employment of any new staff member,” Darien Fenton said.

I replied:

This is hilarious hypocrisy, because Darien has forgotten to mention one key thing.

All parliamentary staff who work for an MP or a parliamentary party (even if they have worked there for 20 years) are effectively on a permament probation period where they can be dismissed at any time, regardless of performance.

In every employment contract there is a clause called “irreconciable differences”, which states that if your MP or Leader declares they have irreconciable differences, you lose you job in return for a payout.

So Labour trumpeting that their staff are protected from the 90 day probation period is meaningless, as Labour MPs can (and have) sack their staff at any time without any need to prove it is a justified dismissal.

The question that should be asked of Labour is why do they campaign to deny other employers the same rights they have as MPs to dismiss their staff purely because they no longer have confidence in them.

Now this exchange motivated me to find out how many staff have been sacked by Labour MPs under the parliamentary permanent probation period where you can be sacked at any time if your MP decides they no longer like you. The employment records for the Parliamentary Service are exempt from the OIA, but those from Ministerial Services are not, so I asked how many staff were dismissed from 1999 to 2008 under the irreconcilable differences clause.

They only had records from 2003 to 2008, but in those six years, 10 staff were sacked under that clause. So the hilarity of Labour saying we won’t use a 90 day probation period when they on 10 occasions used the parliamentary permanent probation period.

The mean duration of employment of those 10 staff was two years and one month and the longest serving staffer had been there six years and seven months. So a Labour Minister used the irreconcilable differences clause to sack someone who had worked there for almost seven years, rather than do what every other employer has to do which is to prove a dismissal is justified on the grounds of performance and risk litigation.

Labour is against all employers having for 90 days, what all their MPs (and all MPs) have permanently – a grievance free dismissal process.

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