CUMBRIA Chamber of Commerce has joined in sharing concerns over 'potentially onerous' laws on workers rights pledged by the Labour leader Keir Starmer.

This comes after Rupert Stoames, who became president of the CBI last week, said the UK needed to avoid a ‘European model’ of employment rights and resist excessive regulation, undermining productivity.

Mr Stoames added that the group is eager to offer ‘private feedback’ to the party on its plans, wanting to help them deliver deals that are beneficial to both businesses, workers, and ministers.

He said the so-called ‘European model’ of stronger worker rights and banning zero-hour contracts are ‘really good for people who are employed but really bad for people who are unemployed because companies are terrified to take them on’.

Labour pledged ‘day one’ employment reform, including a ban on zero-hour contracts and controversial fire and rehire practices.

It’s hoped this advice to the party will bring the CBI back into the limelight after an embarrassing sexual misconduct fiasco, but also promote a conversation between businesses and government using the proxy as a go-between.

Suzanne Caldwell, managing director of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the need for this, despite it sometimes falling on deaf ears.

“Chambers, through British Chambers of Commerce, talk constantly with ministers, shadow ministers, and officials about business issues and the impact of current and proposed policies.

“Related to this we produce and share a range of research, reports and proposals.

“There are other employer representative bodies who do similarly.

“While often we are listened to, this isn’t always the case.”

Ms Caldwell shared her thoughts on law reform, and added: “Zero-hours contracts are a particularly interesting one.

“While undoubtedly some employers use these inappropriately this is far from universal.

“We have members who use them effectively, benefiting both the businesses and the staff involved.

“They give useful flexibility and options to employers.

“Some staff need and value the flexibility, for a range of reasons such as caring responsibilities, running the role alongside self-employment or lifestyle choices around flexibility to travel.

“We also know of employers using them to keep students on the books while they're away with jobs to come back to in the holidays.

“Here in Cumbria we continue to grapple with significant staffing and skills shortages so it's particularly important that employers have the tools and flexibility to do that. 

“Related to that it's worth remembering the range of measures around working from home, flexible hours, four-day weeks and so on that employers have been and are introducing - that can benefit both employers and staff.”