Labour Research October 2015

Labour-union links Labour Research examines the links at local political level between unions and the Labour Party

Minority report - There may be improved minority ethnic representation in Parliament. But what about other areas of public life?

Under new management? - The government plans to devolve decision-making to English cities. What does this actually mean?

Productivity puzzle - Questions continue to be posed over the UK’s unprecedentedly sluggish economic recovery


Bill represents biggest attack on unions in decades, says O’Grady
 (380 words)

The Trade Union Bill dominated last month’s TUC Congress, with TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady describing it as the biggest attack on trade ...
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Unions slam rise in zero hours jobs (314 words)

Unions rounded on the government after figures were released showing that the number of workers on zero hours contracts (ZHCs) has increased by 19% ...
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Staffing crisis
 (261 words)

The NHS and local councils across the UK are facing a growing staffing crisis as a result of the government’s imposed pay cap, according to a ...
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TUC welcomes new Labour leader with rapturous applause
 (345 words)

Newly-elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told delegates at September’s TUC Congress that they had to oppose the Trade Union Bill. 
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Manufacturing strategy needed (215 words)

Ministers have still not “got to grips” with formulating a coherent manufacturing strategy, as industrial output dipped sharply in July, warned ...
Open access

Excessive hours
 (248 words)

The number of people working excessive hours has risen by 15% since 2010, according to new TUC analysis.
Open access

Inflation rises under RPI measure
 (240 words)

Under the Retail Prices Index, inflation in August rose by 1.1%. It was last as high in January this year. It was also up from the July rate of ...
Open access

Output declines (68 words)

Manufacturing output appears to be in the doldrums. 
Open access

Key economic indicators

Key economic indicators (416 words)

Inflation +1.1% Average earnings +3.7% ...
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Union news

Bill will encourage blacklisting
 (262 words)

The picketing provisions of the Trade Union Bill will have the effect of branding picket organisers as troublemakers and open them up to a lifetime ...
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Steve Murphy resigns (21 words)

UCATT general secretary Steve Murphy has resigned his post after being on sick leave since April this year. ...
Open access

Scottish unions send out message over check-off and facility time 
 (340 words)

Scottish unions are urging public bodies to refuse to implement the provisions in the Trade Union Bill relating to check-off and facility time, ...
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TUC submissions on Trade Union Bill
 (117 words)

The TUC’s submissions to the three government consultations on the Trade Union Bill are available online. The consultations were on Balloting ...
Open access

NUS and TUC partnership
 (112 words)

The TUC and National Union of Students have signed an agreement for the coming year to campaign jointly on fighting discrimination and defending ...
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European news

Hollande promises legislation that will reform labour code
 (349 words)

French president François Hollande has promised to introduce legislation “in the next months” which will make the French labour code — the ...
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Italian employment law changes finalised
 (293 words)

The approval last month of the final four decrees implementing various aspects of the legislative package known (in Italian) as the “Jobs Act” ...
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New tripartite body in Poland
 (98 words)

Legislation establishing a new tripartite body, bringing together unions, employers and the government, has just come into force in Poland. 
Open access

More German strikes 
 (84 words)

Germany’s services union, Ver.di, has said it is planning more strikes at Amazon in an attempt to improve workers’ pay and conditions. 
Open access

Precarious Portuguese jobs
 (57 words)

More than eight out of 10 of the new jobs created in Portugal between October 2013 and June 2015 have been precarious, says Arménio Carlos, general ...
Open access


Local-level links with Labour remain in place
 (2,460 words)

As Labour’s annual conference meets in Brighton, Labour Research examines the links the big public sector trade unions have at local level with ...
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Any change in ‘snowy peaks’?
 (2,194 words)

Parliament may have more minority ethnic MPs than ever. But has there been much progress regarding ethnic diversity in public life generally? 
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Devolving the cuts agenda? (2,311 words)

Plans for devolution to England’s cities and regions are proceeding apace. But unions caution that devolved powers, as outlined by the government, ...
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What’s behind the ‘productivity puzzle’? (1,904 words)

Economists have put forward many reasons for the UK’s flatlining productivity. Labour Research examines them. ...
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Law Matters

Setback over tribunal fees, but fight goes on
 (371 words)

The UNISON public services union has lost its latest battle in the fight to end Employment Tribunal fees. The Court of Appeal has decided the fees ...
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Exit payments cap will hit mid-range salaries
 (270 words)

The Treasury has been consulting on proposals to introduce a £95,000 cap (before tax) on exit payments made to public sector workers. But because of ...
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Criticisms mount over strike law reforms
 (218 words)

A growing number of organisations outside the trade union movement have voiced strong concerns about the government’s proposed Trade Union Bill ...
Open access

Law Queries

Disciplinary hearing (267 words)

Q. My employer has asked me to attend a disciplinary hearing. Am I allowed to take someone with me and, if so, can I choose my companion? ...
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Change of shift patterns (254 words)

Q. My employer wants to change my shift patterns. I want my shifts to stay as they are. What can I do? ...
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Fixed-term employee (232 words)

Q. I’ve been working as a fixed term employee with the same company for about five years. I’d like to be taken on as a permanent employee. Do I ...
Open access

Law Back-up

Certification Officer role to be further politicised
 (909 words)

This month, Back-up examines another aspect of the Trade Union Bill, this time focusing on Tory plans to fundamentally alter and expand the role of ...
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Health & Safety Matters

Unions welcome ruling on mobile workers
 (296 words)

Unions have welcomed the recent European Court of Justice ruling that time spent travelling to and from the first and last appointments by workers ...
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Concerns voiced over new fit for work health service
 (183 words)

Concerns have been expressed over the government’s new Fit for Work occupational health service which completed its rollout last month. 
Open access

Tories continue with attacks on safety (230 words)

The Tory government is continuing the previous coalition administration’s vicious attack on unions, workers and health and safety, the annual ...
Open access

Health & Safety Back-up

How to carry out a workplace inspection
 (966 words)

Unions are encouraging their safety reps to inspect their workplace on National Inspection Day on 21 October as part of European Health and Safety ...
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Equality news

Union takes action on health service racism
 (339 words)

The Unite general union has launched an initiative to tackle racism in the NHS. 
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Ageing workforce means employers must change
 (288 words)

The UK could face serious skills shortages over the next 20 years if employers don’t change their approach to workforce planning to reflect the ...
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Working dads want better work-life balance (250 words)

Around 60% of dads say they don’t have a working pattern that suits them, according to new research. 
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Workplace Back-up

Minimum wage increase will be cancelled out
 (1,024 words)

New union research shows that thousands of low-income households will be worse off next April when the increase in the minimum wage is more than ...
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What is humanism? (221 words)

How do you live without a God and other big questions ...
Open access

Marxism and women’s liberation (240 words)

Judith Orr, Bookmarks, 263 pages, £9.99 ...
Open access


e-views (402 words)

I’m always interested in how users perceive websites and the navigation in particular. I’ve recently been working on redesigns for two large ...
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