Labour Research August 2017

UK struggles to bridge the skills gap - There are increasing shortages of skilled workers in a number of areas of the economy. And Brexit looks set to make things worse; Backgrounds of the Commons’ new MPsLabour Research examines the backgrounds of the new crop of MPs and finds that Labour’s new intake remain connected to the unions; Do we need a legal right to "disconnect"? - France recently introduced a legal right for employees to ignore work-related emails outside work hours. Does the UK need something similar?


Repeal Bill must not undermine workers’ rights, say trade unions
 (381 words)

Trade unions have called for guaranteed safeguards for working people as the Great Repeal Bill which brings EU laws into UK law begins its passage ...
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Irish union congress warns against negative impact of Brexit process
 (267 words)

Every effort must be made to avoid a reintroduction of physical borders for trade within Ireland and between Ireland and Great Britain, and to ensure ...
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Centenary news (269 words)

In August 1939, Labour Research reported on the meeting of international trade unions that had taken place the previous month. 
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Taylor review on modern working practices a ‘missed opportunity’
 (365 words)

The much-touted Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices has been lambasted as “disappointing” by trade unions (see also page 25). 
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Prison officers slam strike ban
 (167 words)

The POA prison officers’ union has slammed a High Court decision last month to permanently ban its members from taking strike action.
Open access

PCS hails major legal victory (263 words)

The PCS civil service union is celebrating a major win after the High Court ruled the government had unlawfully failed to consult them over its ...
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Unemployment records a fall
 (215 words)

UK unemployment has recorded its seventh consecutive monthly fall. Unemployed numbers fell by 64,000 to 1.49 million in the three-month period ending ...
Open access

RPI inflation slows down (76 words)

Retail price inflation has slowed down. 
Open access

Key economic indicators

Key economic indicators (414 words)

Inflation +3.5%,Average earnings +1.8% ...
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Union news

Better news on membership
 (551 words)

New figures collated by the TUC suggest that overall membership of its affiliated unions has held up rather better than was indicated by the earlier ...
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RMT considers rejoining Labour (105 words)

The RMT transport union, which was expelled from the Labour Party over 13 years ago, is considering rejoining the party. 
Open access

MBE for BME firefighter
 (61 words)

Michael Nicholas, secretary of the FBU Fire Brigades Union’s black and ethnic minority members’ section, has been awarded an MBE in the 2017 ...
Open access

Mary Turner
 (94 words)

Mary Turner, who had been elected president of the GMB general union for the past two decades, passed away last month after a short illness. 
Open access

Scots youth surge
 (95 words)

Scottish trade unionists are reporting “a massive increase in activity” among young people in the workplace in the last few years. STUC deputy ...
Open access

European news

Agreement still far off over rules on ‘posted workers’
 (445 words)

European governments remain far from a compromise over new rules on labour mobility.
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French labour law plans become clear
 (229 words)

Although most government business normally comes to a halt in August in France, this certainly is not the case this year as the new government ...
Open access

Polish union membership stable
 (84 words)

New figures produced by the Polish opinion research agency CBOS show that 11% of Polish workers are union members. 
Open access

German works councils
 (107 words)

The main German union confederation, the DGB, is pressing for the experience and qualifications that works council members gain through work as ...
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Spanish unions protest
 (63 words)

The two main Spanish union confederations, CCOO and UGT, continue to protest against the threat of a prison sentence hanging over two union ...
Open access


Brexit widens UK skills gap
 (2,637 words)

Concerns over skills shortages in parts of the UK economy are being intensified by the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the status of EU ...
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Labour’s new MPs are still part of the union
 (2,634 words)

The shock hung Parliament result of June’s general election, with Labour doing much better than forecast, has also been good for the unions. 
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Do we need a right to ‘switch off’?
 (2,050 words)

Earlier this year, France brought in a law known as the “right to disconnect” to give workers a legal right to ignore work-related emails outside ...
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Law Matters

Collective redundancy consultation victory 
 (344 words)

Nautilus International, the trade union for maritime professionals, has secured a milestone judgment relating to jurisdiction and collective ...
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Ruling sees equal pension rights for gay couples
 (308 words)

In a landmark decision supporting LGBT rights, the Supreme Court has confirmed that an exemption under the Equality Act, which had been relied on to ...
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Unions continue gig economy battle 
 (246 words)

The union movement’s fight against bogus self-employment continues apace. Last month, the GMB general union started another legal challenge against ...
Open access

Law Queries

Spent convictions
 (266 words)

Q. A member has to provide an enhanced criminal record certificate (ECRC) as part of a job application, but a spent conviction from decades ago has ...
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Disciplinary hearing
 (196 words)

Q. An employer is refusing to disclose copies of witness statements in advance of a disciplinary hearing against our member. What can I do?
Open access

Data subject access request
 (296 words)

Q. What is the procedure for making a data subject access request? ...
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Law Back-up

Improved rights needed for family guys at work
 (924 words)

A recent employment tribunal (ET) case, in which a father established he had been discriminated against when he was denied enhanced occupational ...
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Health & Safety Matters

Unions and TUC demand action on fire safety
 (342 words)

Unions and the TUC have called on the government to take action to improve fire safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, which killed at ...
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Zero hours, poorer health
 (236 words)

Young workers on zero hours contracts (ZHCs) are less likely to be in good health and have a higher risk of poor mental health than those with stable ...
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Hillsborough charges announced by CPS
 (227 words)

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has announced that six individuals have been charged with criminal offences over the fatal crush at the ...
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Health & Safety Back-up

Public inquiries and other investigations
 (924 words)

After a disaster with large-scale loss of life like the Grenfell Tower fire, a number of different investigations will take place. Back-up explains ...
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Equality news

LGBT people still face harassment at work
 (348 words)

More than one in three LGBT people (36%) have been harassed or bullied at work, according to a study published by the TUC. 
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More progress needed to improve social mobility
 (292 words)

Improving social mobility could boost the UK’s GDP by almost £600 per person per year, says research commissioned by educational charity The ...
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Local government not working for women (243 words)

Local government is “not fit for the future” as a result of a range of outdated practices and attitudes that hold back gender equality, states a ...
Open access

Workplace Back-up

Insecure workers must be given a stronger voice
 (869 words)

Union disappointment with the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices published last month (see page 5) extended to its rather watery ...
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e-views (422 words)

One of the latest frontiers in technology is voice-controlled smart assistants. Systems like Apple’s Siri, Google Now and Microsoft’s Cortana ...
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