By Marcus Leach

Steps announced today (Wednesday) by Business Secretary Vince Cable to reduce employment red tape are positive progress and should be enacted swiftly.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) is particularly pleased by common sense plans to streamline the tribunal process. More emphasis on conciliation and mediation is also welcome.

Retail is the largest private sector employer in the country, accounting for nearly three million jobs.

"Retailers are particularly dependent on their staff for the success of their businesses. Good working relationships are highly valued and they only break down in a tiny minority of cases," British Retail Consortium Director General, Stephen Robertson, said.

"On the few occasions when things do go wrong, the current tribunal process is often too slow and too costly. The plans announced by Vince Cable should help weed out vexatious cases and make it easier to resolve disputes quickly and in the workplace.

"Growth in the jobs market is essential to the recovery of our economy but retail jobs cannot be taken for granted. Our own figures show there were the equivalent of 23,000 fewer full-time jobs in the retail sector this autumn compared with the same period last year.

"Removing deterrents to hiring new staff and reducing unnecessary employment costs will help retailers create the jobs the country needs. The Government should take these proposals forward as quickly as possible."

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