So, there is apparently a two-year "sackers' charter" coming, whereby job security is not guaranteed before two years of employment. "The left" are up in arms about this, but as someone who has been an employer as well as an employee, I'd like to try to offer some perspectives on this.
Firstly, I feel much more at risk of being sacked in the UK than I've ever felt working in countries where there are absolutely no "protections" for employees, including a brief stint in a country where even unionisation is banned!
I'm not sure if this is an unintended consequence of employment legislation, whereby the additional cost of catering for employment law fucks up the cost/benefit relation of employing someone and actually, perversely, increases the risk of getting the sack in marginal situations, like in a recession when things are tough. Or it might be something else, or a combination.
Secondly, as has been pointed out: protecting jobs just because someone's been in them for a while, even if they're useless or become useless due to factors outside the employer's control, means that the useless person can't be shed and replaced by a more useful person. It also makes it harder for people who have no experience or skill to get a job, and forces people who have skills and experience "down the value chain" into more menial jobs than they actually deserve.
But then there's the other side of the equation: having been an employer as well, recruiting people is a) a fucking ballache, b) expensive and c) risky.
There are really very few jobs indeed where labour is a commodity. Every job, even picking fruit, requires a level of training and expertise. The degree varies from job to job, but there is always a component of it. And if you've got the knowledge and the expertise and you're good in your job and you integrate with the workplace, then I can assure you that it is very nearly as unpleasant for the employer to give you the sack as it is to be sacked.
And people are very, very unlikely to sack you just because they can replace you with someone cheaper, because it's a fucking ballache, and even if it's not expensive or saves money, the new person is a risk. And furthermore, someone who is settled in his job and is reasonably happy is not a flight risk. Someone who has just arrived is more likely to piss off because the job isn't what they expected and then you're left swinging in the breeze.
So I don't think employment "protection" is really of any use to employees. If you want job security, do your job well, make yourself valuable and you'll be the last one standing. But don't expect an employer to look after you just because you've occupied that desk for the last 10 years.