Labour Research March 2016

Women in unions - How well are women represented in UK unions? A Labour Research survey examines the latest position; Mind the pay gap - The government has finally published plans requiring gender pay gap reporting for large employers; Labour exploitation - Tory proposals to tackle labour market exploitation have met with scepticism from unions; Polish workers - As part of a strategy to reach out to the most vulnerable, unions continue their efforts to organise Polish workers


MPs express concern over plans for housing association sell-offs
 (405 words)

The government’s Housing and Planning Bill has received sharp criticism from a cross-party Parliamentary committee. The Conservative-majority ...
Subscribers only

Sunday hours changes denounced
 (216 words)

Shopworkers’ union Usdaw has registered its disappointment over the government’s decision to implement controversial plans to devolve ...
Open access

Industrial news (251 words)

The British Medical Association (BMA) has attacked the “bullying” approach of the government after health secretary Jeremy Hunt announced that ...
Subscribers only

Trade Union Bill presents threat to freedom of association, warns QC
 (281 words)

Criticism of the Trade Union Bill is mounting from all quarters as it continues to be debated in the House of Lords. The TUC has welcomed comments by ...
Subscribers only

Unions round on payment cuts
 (261 words)

Government plans to cut civil service redundancy payments have been described as “sickening” by unions.
Subscribers only

NHS bed-blocking
 (159 words)

Cuts to council funding are the major contributory factor for bed-blocking in the NHS, says a report by the GMB general union. The findings show that ...
Open access

Oil crisis
 (95 words)

The oil crisis has prompted trade unions representing offshore workers to join together to seek solutions to the problem of growing job losses and to ...
Open access

Unemployment heads downward
 (212 words)

Last year, unemployment finished on a downward trajectory. The number of unemployed people fell by 60,000 to 1.69 million in the three months to ...
Open access

Inflation on the up again
 (75 words)

Inflation under the Retail Prices Index rose for the third consecutive month and the annual rate for January was 1.3%, against 1.2% the previous ...
Open access

Key economic indicators

Key economic indicators (410 words)

Inflation +1.3%, Average earnings +1.5% ...
Subscribers only

Union news

Legislation still ‘undemocratic’ despite possible concessions by government
 (359 words)

Unions welcomed signs that the government was being forced into making concessions on the Trade Union Bill, after a leaked letter revealed that ...
Subscribers only

Trade Union Bill and political funds
 (374 words)

The government looks set to come under pressure to water down another aspect of the highly controversial Trade Union Bill in the coming days — the ...
Subscribers only

O’Grady on referendum (142 words)

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady has made clear that she favours an “imperfect Europe” over the alternatives. 
Open access

European news

German union calls for jobs programme for refugees (360 words)

IG Metall, Germany’s largest union, has proposed a radical jobs plan to help refugees from Syria and elsewhere to integrate into society. 
Subscribers only

French labour law reforms confirmed 
 (316 words)

French president François Hollande has confirmed that the government will press ahead with proposals to reform the French labour code this year.
Subscribers only

ETUC concern at Cameron deal
 (120 words)

Luca Visentini, general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation, has expressed his concerns over the proposed deal on the UK’s EU ...
Open access

General strike 
 (116 words)

Last month, the two Greek union confederations — GSEE representing most workers and ADEDY representing public sector workers — called their ...
Open access


Are women making progress?
 (2,239 words)

Women now make up over half (55%) of Britain’s 6.4 million-strong trade union membership. So are unions ensuring that they are fairly represented ...
Open access

Can new rules close the gap?
 (1,646 words)

Unions and others remain apprehensive about the government’s commitment to effective measures addressing the persistent gender pay gap.
Subscribers only

Will plans deal with exploitation?
 (2,289 words)

The government has put forward proposals to tackle labour market exploitation, including plans to reform the Gangmasters Licensing Authority. But ...
Subscribers only

Union efforts make an impact on recruitment
 (2,113 words)

Labour Research examines the pattern of Polish employment in the UK — and union efforts to recruit new Polish members.
Subscribers only

Law Matters

Anti-union bill will hit unions with huge costs
 (353 words)

A recent report suggests the Employment Tribunal (ET) system in England and Wales may be integrated into the civil courts. Dave Prentis, general ...
Subscribers only

Tribunal changes move
 (313 words)

The impact assessment of the Trade Union Bill, published by the government at the end of January, shows that unions will be subject to huge costs if ...
Subscribers only

Records disclosure (281 words)

The High Court recently decided that aspects of the government’s criminal record disclosures process are arbitrary and unlawful.
Subscribers only

Law Queries

Monitoring communications
 (267 words)

Q. Can employers monitor employees’ communications at work? ...
Subscribers only

Voluntary redundancy packages and age
 (230 words)

Q. Is it fair for an employer to offer a voluntary redundancy package to younger employees, but not an older employee due to their entitlement to an ...
Open access

 (195 words)

Q. A member has had a job offer withdrawn on the basis of an unsatisfactory written reference from her existing employer. Can she get hold of a copy? ...
Open access

Law Back-up

Has government crossed threshold with ballots? 
 (824 words)

When the Trade Union Bill was published last summer, the government issued a consultation, Ballot thresholds in important public services. This ...
Subscribers only

Health & Safety Matters

Alarm sounded over workplace violence
 (260 words)

New research commissioned by the TUC and released to coincide with the start of “heartunions” week last month suggests that nearly four million ...
Subscribers only

Ethical audits are failing workers — and the planet
 (240 words)

Ethical audits work for corporations but are failing workers and the planet, says a briefing by Sheffield University’s Political Economy Research ...
Open access

Call for inquiry over ‘aerotoxic syndrome’ (254 words)

After two flights in as many days were forced to turn back to the UK following an outbreak of sickness among the cabin crew in January 2016, the ...
Subscribers only

Health & Safety Back-up

Safety at work needs ‘gender-sensitivity’
 (863 words)

Back-up looks at why women’s health and safety is often overlooked, and at resources safety reps can use to encourage their employers to adopt a ...
Subscribers only

Equality news

Qualifications do not prevent race pay gap
 (349 words)

Black workers with degrees earn nearly a quarter less on average than white workers with degrees, says new research by the TUC. The findings reveal ...
Subscribers only

Disabled employees cite benefit of adjustments
 (247 words)

Disabled employees feel adjustments are essential to retaining their jobs, says research by employer’s networking body the Business Disability ...
Open access

Race hate crimes
 (153 words)

The RMT rail union has demanded an end to staff cuts in response to a massive increase in race hate crimes on Britain’s transport services.
Open access

BME review
 (96 words)

Business secretary Sajid Javid has asked Baroness McGregor-Smith, CEO of the Mitie outsourcing and energy services company, to lead a review ...
Open access

Workplace Back-up

Concerns raised over apprenticeship levy
 (888 words)

The government has just published draft legislation on the introduction of the apprenticeship levy — but it faces continuing and widespread ...
Subscribers only


Employment law
 (242 words)

An adviser’s handbook ...
Open access

The Egyptians 
 (179 words)

A radical story ...
Open access


e-views (401 words)

PHP is a website programming language. It’s the World Wide Web’s most popular code, estimated to power over 80% of websites. 
Subscribers only

News from LRD

 annual general meeting (185 words)

The Labour Research Department (LRD) annual general meeting will take place on Monday 16 May from 2.00pm at Jerwood Space, Union Street, London SE1 ...
Open access