Labour Research August 2019

Demise of the high street retailers? - Empty shops have become a regular sight on the UK’s high streets. How are retail unions responding to the sector’s ongoing crisis?; Care workers and sleep-in shift payments - How should care workers be paid for overnight shifts? The Supreme Court is set to make a once-and-for-all decision on the issue; Managing the ageing workforce - The numbers of older workers are steadily rising. But are UK employers and government suitably prepared for this?


Union leaders call on Ruskin to drop disciplinary action
 (414 words)

Ten trade union leaders last month wrote to Ruskin College in Oxford, asking the college to drop all disciplinary proceedings and withdraw threats of ...
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Key workers priced out of housing
 (248 words)

Key workers are being priced out of London and Southern England, with young workers in London paying over half their income on rent, says a report by ...
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New authority to
 tackle exploitation
 (144 words)

The government is responding to calls to stop workplace exploitation by establishing a single body to tackle the issue.
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Millions not getting paid leave
 (89 words)

One in 14 UK workers are not getting their legal holiday entitlement, according to TUC analysis. Calculations show that nearly two million employees ...
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TUC outlines just transition strategy for fairer economy
 (350 words)

A TUC roadmap on the transition to a low-carbon economy calls for a cross-party commission to establish a long-term energy strategy, involving ...
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Social partnership bolstered
 (170 words)

First minister for Wales Mark Drakeford last month announced plans for a new approach in industrial relations through a Social Partnership Act. This ...
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Protest over pension age (236 words)

Ambulance workers, members of the GMB union, staged a protest outside the Department of Health last month, demanding that their pension age be ...
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Unemployment lowest in decades
 (224 words)

Unemployment in the UK is at its lowest level for almost 45 years, official figures show.
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Inflation falls (74 words)

Cheaper petrol and domestic fuel, partially offset by dearer food and clothing, were the main factors behind a fall in inflation. The rate of ...
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Key economic indicators

Key economic indicators (413 words)

Inflation +2.9%, Average earnings +3.9% ...
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Union news

Small decrease in TUC’s overall membership numbers (349 words)

There has been a small slippage in the overall membership of TUC-affiliated unions over the past year. The latest TUC figures show the total number ...
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Leadership polls get underway (271 words)

Members of the 85,000-strong RMT transport union are currently voting in a ballot to determine who will be their general secretary for the five years ...
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Pharmacists’ union (142 words)

The PDAU pharmacists’ union, which recently won its epic battle to gain recognition by chemist chain Boots, has now signed a formal agreement with ...
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European news

Amazon workers in Europe and America take action
 (479 words)

Workers at Amazon sites in Germany have stepped up the pressure for higher wages and better conditions by halting work for two days. And in ...
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French pensions plan published
 (205 words)

The expert commissioner for pensions appointed by the French government has presented his report on a new structure for pensions. Jean-Paul ...
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Referendum call
 in Croatia (98 words)

Croatia’s three main union confederations are calling on the government to act in line with the law and organise a referendum on the recent ...
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Hungarian union recognition
 (75 words)

Hungarian metalworking union VASAS is in a bitter battle with management in its attempt to build membership in the Suzuki car plant at Esztergom. 
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Membership move welcomed in Italy
 (68 words)

The three main Italian union confederations, CGIL, CISL and UIL, have welcomed moves to allow the labour inspectorate to introduce a new method of ...
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Unions respond as high street shuts up shop
 (2,540 words)

As the crisis in retail deepens, and the sector continues to undergo major transformation, Labour Research looks at how retail unions are ...
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Unions await sleep-in appeal
 (2,535 words)

The Supreme Court is to decide “once and for all” how much a worker should be paid for a sleep-in shift. Labour Research reports. 
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Older workers: the key issues
 (2,325 words)

Perceptions about age and the workplace are evolving. But are employers and government recognising this and promoting a supportive environment for ...
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Law Matters

Direct offer was not unlawful inducement
 (267 words)

The Court of Appeal has held that an offer of new terms made direct to employees instead of through the union was not an unlawful inducement to end ...
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Claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination rejected (350 words)

A redundancy selection procedure was not unfair or discriminatory even though the three people selected for redundancy were the oldest in the pool, ...
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Context of covert recordings clarified (223 words)

While covert recordings of workplace meetings are frowned upon by employment tribunals, they are generally admitted in evidence if relevant to the ...
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Law Queries

Mobility clauses (363 words)

Q. My employer has said that I have to work from another site 20 miles away and that if I don’t agree he can sack me. Can I refuse to move? ...
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Equal pay (264 words)

Q. I am a cleaner and get paid £12 per hour, whereas the maintenance workers who do tasks such as fixing leaky taps or squeaky doors get £16 per ...
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Bereavement leave
 (192 words)

Q. Am I entitled to bereavement leave following the death of my father?
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Law Back-up

Establishing constructive knowledge of disability
 (953 words)

This month, Back-up, looks at the meaning of constructive knowledge in disability claims.
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Health & Safety Matters

Ban contracting out, demands rail union
 (313 words)

The RMT rail union has called for an absolute ban on contracting out following a “shocking” report into the death of a track worker struck by a ...
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Stress is an ongoing concern (218 words)

Stress continues to be major work-related concern for a huge number of workers across a range of sectors, according to recent research. 
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Parliament’s reforms ‘not sufficient’ (242 words)

The Unite general union has called for “root and branch reform of employment practices” following publication of the White report into ...
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Health & Safety Back-up

Toxic substances: how to minimise their use
 (877 words)

Last month, at the annual Hazards conference in Keele, Stirling University professor Andy Watterson explained how trade union safety reps can use ...
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Equality news

Duty to prevent sexual harassment demanded
 (303 words)

A campaign calling on the government to introduce a new law to make employers responsible for protecting their staff from sexual harassment at work ...
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Women’s representation in councils ‘at standstill’
 (271 words)

Women’s representation in local government is “at a standstill”, with new data from the 2019 local elections showing that women make up just 35% ...
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Oxbridge and private schools still hold sway (233 words)

Top executives and politicians are five times more likely to have been privately educated than the general population, says a recent study by the ...
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Workplace Back-up

Families suffer holiday childcare nightmare
 (942 words)

Paying for additional childcare and living costs during school holidays is a perennial problem for working parents, particularly those on a low ...
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Union web sites (460 words)

Every year I carry out an analysis of the websites of all the TUC-affiliated unions to compare their perceived “authority”. I compile the results ...
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News from LRD

 to Workplace action on mental health booklet (101 words)

The recently-published LRD booklet Workplace action on mental health described a programme of mental health first aid training and also a system of ...
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