Labour Research January 2016

The year ahead - The experts at Labour Research look at what’s in store for unions and their members in 2016

Strike ballots - The Trade Union Bill proves the government isn’t listening to long-held union ideas over positive voting methods for strike ballots

Border lines - Employment relations north of the Border are somewhat different to those in the rest of the UK

Health and wellbeing - How are unions and employers promoting wellbeing in the workplace?


Supply agencies ‘cashing in’ on teacher shortage, unions warn 
 (299 words)

Vast numbers of teachers exiting the profession mean that schools are obliged to spend £1.3 billion a year on supply staff, warn teaching unions. ...
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Delay on airports decision slammed
 (207 words)

The government’s decision to delay its verdict on expanding London’s airports until at least the summer has been slammed by unions. 
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Industrial news (278 words)

Members of the Unite general union at Legal & General’s Kingswood office in Surrey are moving towards industrial action, following the ...
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NHS struggles to get to grips with exodus of ambulance staff
 (329 words)

The number of paramedics and other ambulance staff quitting the NHS has nearly doubled in four years — and thousands more are planning to leave, ...
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Holyrood fails to stave off Bill
 (204 words)

An attempt by the Scottish government to block Westminster’s unpopular Trade Union Bill from becoming law in Scotland has failed.
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TUC week of action
 (88 words)

The TUC is to run a special week of activities throughout England and Wales next month to showcase the work unions do. The “Heartunions” week of ...
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End sanctions
 (163 words)

The PCS civil service union has called for benefit sanctions to be scrapped as a new report by charity Crisis shows how the regime is leaving people ...
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Substantial fall in unemployment
 (200 words)

Unemployment has fallen substantially, official figures show. The number of unemployed people under the Labour Force Survey count fell by 110,000 to 1 ...
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RPI inflation rises again (77 words)

The annual inflation rate under the RPI Retail Prices Index was up to 1.1% in November against a rise of just 0.7% the previous month. Higher ...
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Key economic indicators

Key economic indicators (407 words)

Inflation +1.1%, Average earnings +1.9% ...
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Union news

Unite bolsters community work with opening of another centre
 (216 words)

General union Unite has opened another community centre — to add to its five existing centres — to offer help and support to a community hit hard ...
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UNISON general secretary election
 (152 words)

The 1.2 million-member public services union UNISON last month announced that Dave Prentis had been re-elected as general secretary for a fourth term. ...
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FBU re-joins Labour 
 (51 words)

The 38,000-strong FBU Fire Brigades Union has agreed to re-join the Labour Party 11 years after disaffiliating. 
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European news

Workers protest over pay and conditions at Amazon
 (422 words)

Amazon, the online retail giant, has been hit by protest action by its employees in three separate European countries — Germany, France and ...
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Finnish employer-union talks break down
 (228 words)

Talks between unions and employers in Finland, aimed at finding an alternative to new government legislation to cut labour costs, have collapsed. The ...
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Agency workers
 (140 words)

Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel has intervened to force a revision of planned rules on agency workers and service contracts. Unions have been ...
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Women on the board (113 words)

A meeting of EU labour and social affairs ministers on 7 December 2015 failed to reach agreement on an EU proposal to set quotas for the number of ...
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What lies in store in 2016?
 (3,262 words)

The Conservatives’ union-bashing Trade Union Bill will be one of many challenges UK unions have to face in 2016, as the Labour Research staff ...
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Give us positive voting rights!
 (1,886 words)

Workplace democracy demands consideration of a range of balloting methods, say unions. But the Trade Union Bill shows the Tories aren’t ...
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Scotland: showing the way?
 (1,748 words)

Scotland may remain united to the rest of the UK. However, when it comes to trade union relations with the Holyrood and Westminster Parliaments, ...
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Working to promote healthier workplaces
 (1,693 words)

Labour Research looks at what employers can and are doing to improve the health and wellbeing of their workforces, and at TUC and union guidance in ...
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Law Matters

Workplace misconduct: inconsistent sanctions
 (318 words)

Is it fair when different disciplinary sanctions are given to employees who have committed misconduct at the same work party incident? Two recent ...
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Collective redundancy
 (330 words)

In the recent Spanish case of Pujante Rivera v Gestora Clubs [2015] EUECJ C-422/14, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided that when calculating ...
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payments frozen
 (57 words)

The government has proposed that statutory maternity, paternity, sick pay, shared parental pay and sick pay remain at the same level this year. 
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Enterprise Bill
 (87 words)

The Enterprise Bill continues through Parliament. It passed the House of Lords at the end of 2015 and will now have three readings in the House of ...
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Correction: tribunal fees review
 (71 words)

The December 2015 Law Matters column contained an error in the item Tribunal fees review: revisions on the cards in reporting one of the suggestions ...
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Law Queries

Exclusivity clauses (245 words)

Q. Can employers use exclusivity clauses in zero hour contracts? ...
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Bullying (229 words)

Q. We have a large group of members at a workplace where they all allege bullying by the same senior manager. What are their options? ...
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Surveillance of vehicles (275 words)

Q. We represent lots of members who drive company vehicles. Increasingly, employers want to fit tracking devices. Is this allowed? ...
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Law Back-up

Latest developments on associative discrimination 
 (888 words)

Back-Up highlights some recent cases of discrimination by association. This important area of discrimination law may prove to be of increasing ...
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Health & Safety Matters

Unions call for ‘zero tolerance’ of violence
 (195 words)

At events held around the country, trade unionists marked the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women at the end of ...
Open access

Transparency on bullying and harassment needed
 (230 words)

GMB Scotland has called for greater transparency in how organisations receiving public funding deal with bullying, harassment and discrimination. 
Open access

Fire response times
 (115 words)

The FBU firefighters’ union says “the ever-lengthening times” it takes for fire crews to arrive are a direct result of “life-threatening ...
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Station job cuts (140 words)

The RMT rail union demanded a moratorium on station job cuts at London Underground (LU) as it revealed that east London’s Leytonstone station, the ...
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Health & Safety Back-up

Trade union guidance on dealing with floods
 (875 words)

Storm Desmond wreaked havoc across large parts of the country last month. It also created hugely hazardous conditions for workers responding to ...
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Equality news

Benefits of migration
 (366 words)

Migrants to the UK act as “transnational economic entrepreneurs” and “transnational economic activists”, helping to promote economic ...
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Minority ethnic people miss out on top jobs
 (275 words)

Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people are under-represented at every management level in the workplace, according to a survey by the ...
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Young women absorb stereotypes (263 words)

Young women are considerably more likely than women over 30 to think that traditionally male jobs are out of their reach, says campaigning group ...
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Workplace Back-up

'Invisible' impairments: tackling the issues
 (816 words)

Last month, the TUC published You don’t look disabled, a good practice guide for workplace representatives to help them support trade union members ...
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e-views (472 words)

Every year I look at how influential TUC-affiliated unions are in social media. Specifically, I look at Twitter which, due to its open nature, is the ...
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News from LRD

LRD Annual General Meeting (100 words)

The 2016 annual general meeting of the Labour Research Department (LRD) will be held on Monday 16 May, 2016 from 2.00pm at Jerwood Space, Union ...
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