Labour Research May 2019

Bolsonaro presidency raises fears for Brazil - Unions and civil society groups have voiced their deep concern over the new and openly far right president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro; Probation service suffers privatisation consequences - The government’s reforms of the probation service have come in for scathing criticism from many quarters, including unions; Unions launch disability initiative - Unions believe that reasonable adjustment "disability passports" could make a real difference to disabled workers


Government must step in to help struggling retail sector
 (362 words)

The Usdaw shopworkers’ union has once again pleaded for the government to take action to help the retail industry after troubled department store ...
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Union demands return of rail contracts to public ownership
 (268 words)

The RMT rail workers’ union has demanded that Stagecoach contracts be taken into public ownership as the company is banned from bidding for rail ...
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Screening returns in-house
 (232 words)

The NHS is bringing cervical screening services back in-house as a result of poor performance by the Capita outsourcing firm. 
Open access

Fury over chief’s massive pay increase amid employee cuts
 (340 words)

The chief executive of the Centrica multinational energy and services company, parent firm of British Gas, is due to snaffle a £2.4 million pay ...
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European unions join fight to save Honda’s Swindon plant
 (189 words)

European unions representing Honda workers have joined with the Unite union in the UK to help save Honda’s Swindon plant from closure amid fears ...
Open access

Airport staff vote to strike (255 words)

Baggage handlers and check-in staff at Heathrow and Luton airports, members of the Unite union, were set to take strike action in two separate ...
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Unemployment rate sees a fall
 (189 words)

In the three-month period ending February 2019, the number of unemployed people fell by 27,000 to 1.34 million from 1.37 million in the period ending ...
Open access

RPI lowest for over two years (64 words)

On the back of cheaper seasonal food, the annual rate of inflation on the measure favoured by trade union negotiators — the Retail Prices Index — ...
Open access

Key economic indicators

Key economic indicators (414 words)

Inflation +2.4%, Average earnings +3.2% ...
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Union news

Journalists seek recognition at digital media company (322 words)

Members of the NUJ journalists’ union are seeking union recognition at digital media company VICE UK, after conducting an intensive organising ...
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Further and higher education staff ballot for new union leader (108 words)

Balloting is underway in the 108,000-strong UCU university and college union in the election for a new general secretary to replace Sally Hunt, who ...
Open access

Bargaining agreement talks begin at Boots
 (236 words)

Negotiations to establish the first ever collective bargaining agreement between the Boots chemist chain and the PDAU pharmacists’ union began last ...
Open access

European news

Union confederation sets out demands for Euro elections
 (353 words)

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has set out its demands for the elections to choose members of the European Parliament later this ...
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French pension changes cause alarm
 (285 words)

French unions have expressed growing concern over the government’s pension plans, the next area where president Emmanuel Macron wants to make ...
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German car workers
 (141 words)

IG Metall, which represents workers in Germany’s car plants, has called on the German government to introduce a new form of short-time working to ...
Open access

Polish teachers’ strike
 (117 words)

The forecast nationwide strike of teachers in Poland (see Labour Research, April 2019, page 8) has begun and has produced the closure of schools ...
Open access


Workers attacked to shore up the elite
 (2,415 words)

Latin America’s largest country, Brazil, now has an openly far right president in Jair Bolsonaro. This is deeply disquieting for Brazilian trade ...
Open access

Privatisation backfires again
 (2,129 words)

The government’s chaotic part-privatisation of the probation service has been disastrous for probation workers and for those they seek to help.
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Passport to support at work
 (2,194 words)

A new initiative by the TUC and the GMB general union aims to assist disabled workers receive the adjustments they require to remain in a job and ...
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Law Matters

Employee was entitled to receive long-term benefits
 (391 words)

An employee who was unfairly dismissed was entitled to receive long-term disability benefits until such time as he was able to return to the job that ...
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Decision on working on the Sabbath is overturned (277 words)

When deciding whether an employment policy is indirectly discriminatory, an employer is entitled to consider its effect on all its employees and not ...
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Modernising tribunals 
 (148 words)

Following on from his strategy for the modernisation of the tribunals system, the senior president of tribunals, Sir Ernest Ryder, has now published ...
Open access

Vento guidelines updated
 (69 words)

The new Vento guidelines, which set out bands of awards for injury to feelings, and are adjusted annually to account for inflation, have now been ...
Open access

Law Queries

Dismissal while sick (261 words)

Q. I have been off sick for six months with anxiety and depression and have been asked to attend a meeting with HR to discuss my employment. Can they ...
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Sexual harassment (212 words)

Q. My manager frequently makes remarks full of sexual innuendo and talks to me about his sex life. It makes me really uncomfortable. What can I do ...
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Whistleblowing (318 words)

Q. A few months ago I made a formal complaint to HR that the company wasn’t following proper health and safety procedures in the warehouse and that ...
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Law Back-up

Union support continues for precarious workers 
 (913 words)

There are thousands of workers in Britain who remain in a state of precarity with no guarantee of work from one week to the next. Zero hours ...
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Health & Safety Matters

Proposals on violent crime get short shrift
 (276 words)

Unions representing education and health workers have condemned government proposals to hold teachers, NHS workers and others accountable for failing ...
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Prison workers’ unions slam outsourcing disaster (222 words)

Unions representing prison workers welcomed the government’s announcement last month that Birmingham prison will return to the public sector. 
Open access

Domestic violence charter signatory
 (120 words)

Sandwell Council has become the first employer to sign up to the GMB general union’s domestic abuse charter following the charter’s launch last ...
Open access

Stress-related absence
 (88 words)

Stress-related absence has increased in more than one in three businesses as a result of heavy workloads and poor management, according to a new ...
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Health & Safety Back-up

Action is needed on gender-based violence
 (808 words)

The NUJ journalists’ union has put out a call for action on gender-based violence as a trade union campaign for a new International Labour ...
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Equality news

Employers should take stock of positive action
 (312 words)

More employers need to recognise the benefits of using positive action, said the EHRC equality watchdog recently as it addressed the number of ...
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TUC calls for overhaul of shared parental leave
 (303 words)

Four years on from its introduction, the shared parental leave (SPL) scheme isn’t working, the TUC said last month. Last year, only 9,200 new ...
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Workplace Back-up

How to support women through the menopause
 (895 words)

A new report and guidance from the CIPD HR professionals’ organisation calls for the subject of the menopause to be addressed openly in the ...
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e-views (398 words)

Unionlearn, the TUC’s learning and skills organisation, has recently launched a new careers area on its website called Careerzone. 
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News from LRD

LRD AGM - Keynote speaker: Kendal Bromley-Bewes (196 words)

The TUC has designated 2019 as the Year of Young Workers, designed to help young workers understand unions and “win at work”. 
Open access