Labour Research September 2017

Elections in Germany - The unions have a wish list of changes in the industrial relations system for whoever is chancellor and whichever party holds power after the elections this month. Insecure work - Unions are taking up the challenges involved in organising the growing number of workers across the old and new sectors of the so-called gig economy. Public sector pay cap - Workers across the public sector have seen their pay cut in real-terms since 2010. They want an end to the pay cap that’s hit their standard of living.


Court’s ruling on tribunal fees welcomed by unions 
 (321 words)

The Supreme Court’s ruling in favour of the case brought by the public service union UNISON that the government acted unlawfully in introducing ...
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Tata Steel gets approval for pension scheme restructure
 (294 words)

Steel unions have welcomed a deal which separates Tata Steel from its previous responsibilities under the British Steel Pension Scheme (BSPS). 
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Centenary news (261 words)

In September 1959, Labour Research reported on the UK’s involvement in the establishment of the European Free Trade Association, as an alternative ...
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Disruptive passengers a threat to flight safety
 (275 words)

The drunken and anti-social behaviour blighting flights to and from UK airports has been highlighted in a union survey. 
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Tories must renationalise failing probation services
 (222 words)

The Conservative government must bring failing privatised probation services back under public control, unions representing workers in the sector say. ...
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NUJ demands inquiry into press racism
 (117 words)

The NUJ journalists’ union has called on the press watchdog, IPSO, to carry out an immediate investigation into the Islamophobia, racism and hatred ...
Open access

Strike ballot over pay at Sellafield
 (125 words)

Around 5,000 union members at the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing site are being balloted for industrial action after the company imposed a 1.5% pay ...
Open access

Unemployment moves ever lower
 (199 words)

UK unemployment has continued to fall, official figures show, with the number down by 57,000 to 1.48 million in the three-month period ending June. ...
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Inflation woes (71 words)

The annual rate of inflation under the Retail Prices Index (RPI) increased to 3.6% from 3.5% the previous month. Dearer food and furniture helped ...
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Key economic indicators

Key economic indicators (413 words)

Inflation +3.6%, Average earnings +2.8% ...
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Union news

College and university staff to get free UCU membership
 (296 words)

Around 70,000 mostly young college and university teachers are to get free membership of the University and College Union (UCU) to help tackle the ...
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Foster carers win tribunal bid to be classed as council employees
 (230 words)

Two specialist foster carers working for Glasgow City Council have won a tribunal ruling that they are employees, with potential implications for a ...
Open access

Union recognition applications (111 words)

The number of applications for union recognition at the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) passed the 1,000 mark in March this year — 17 years ...
Open access

Union finances rosy
 (102 words)

Trade union finances improved overall in the latest reporting period, according to figures collated by the union watchdog, the Certification Officer ...
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Unionisation of Poles
 (99 words)

Polish nationals working in the UK are increasingly likely to be union members, official figures show. Union density among UK employees who are ...
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Freelances in Ireland
 (61 words)

Irish unions have got the green light to seek collective bargaining agreements for freelance workers, having been banned from doing so since 2004.
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European news

French government presses on with labour law changes
 (391 words)

The new government under president Emmanuel Macron is pressing ahead rapidly with its plans to make radical changes in French employment law.
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Key factors as to why voters back far-right in Germany
 (287 words)

Subjective feelings of anxiety and dissatisfaction rather than objective factors, such as pay, are key to explaining why some voters are likely to ...
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Poland must explain retirement age plan
 (137 words)

The European Commission has written to the Polish government asking for an explanation of its plan to return to different gender retirement ages. 
Open access

Failure to agree on pay in Spain
 (114 words)

Unions and employers in Spain have failed to agree on pay recommendations for 2017. When the two sides signed a three-year settlement in 2015, they ...
Open access


German unions hope for positive change 
 (2,454 words)

The elections in Germany this month are unlikely to make a radical difference to the position of the unions. But, with key parts of the industrial ...
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Unions take on challenges of organising in gig economy
 (2,911 words)

The TUC estimates the number of insecure workers in the UK at 3.2 million — one in 10 of the workforce — including workers on zero-hours ...
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End the pay pinch, scrap the cap
 (2,464 words)

Union campaigns against the government’s public sector pay cap have stepped up over the summer, with the latest pay awards for public sector ...
Open access

Law Matters

Short pause on minimum wage compliance
 (344 words)

The government has recently decided to suspend minimum wage enforcement for vast numbers of care workers until October and waive some financial ...
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Wales passes union law
 (251 words)

Trade unionists have welcomed the passing of a Welsh law which rips up parts of Conservative legislation passed just a year ago.
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Success on voluntary overtime
 (224 words)

Unite general union has secured a landmark legal victory, establishing that voluntary overtime should be included in employer calculations of holiday ...
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Law Queries

Unsatisfactory reference (232 words)

Q. One of our members had a job offer withdrawn on the basis of an unsatisfactory reference. Can the employer do this? The offer was conditional on a ...
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Vaping (177 words)

Q. Is vaping at work lawful? ...
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Injury to feelings
 (286 words)

Q. How much can a claimant expect to recover for injury to feelings if they are successful in a discrimination claim? ...
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Law Back-up

Employment tribunal fees ruled unlawful
 (944 words)

In a victory for public service union UNISON, the Supreme Court has, in a momentous decision, determined that the government’s Employment Tribunal ...
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Health & Safety Matters

Hazards Campaign says ‘Enough is enough’
 (366 words)

“Grenfell changes everything. It must change everything,” Hazards Campaigner Hilda Palmer told hundreds of trade unionists and safety campaigners ...
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Crisis in Britain’s jails
 (184 words)

The POA prison officers’ union has called on the government and senior management to take urgent action to tackle the crisis in Britain’s jails. ...
Open access

Bus staff driven to distraction
 (222 words)

London bus drivers are suffering high levels of stress and fatigue as a result of long shifts, inadequate breaks and irregular shift patterns, ...
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Health & Safety Back-up

Fire safety just a part of regulation picture
 (899 words)

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the building regulations have come under public scrutiny, but the FBU fire brigades’ union wants an ...
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Equality news

Rise in pension age hits women financially 
 (384 words)

More than one million women will be financially worse off as a result of the raising of the state pension age, says report by the think tank, the ...
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Call for pardon on all homosexual offences
 (303 words)

Home secretary Amber Rudd has been urged by general union Unite to institute a legal pardon for all those convicted of homosexual offences. 
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Dying to work
 (115 words)

The Royal Mail is the latest employer to sign up to the TUC’s Dying to Work charter which sets out an agreed way in which employees will be ...
Open access

Minority managers
 (153 words)

Full representation of black and minority ethnic (BME) individuals across the labour market would be worth £24 billion a year to the UK economy, a ...
Open access

Workplace Back-up

Unions not cowed by new Tory ballot law
 (974 words)

Despite the restrictive thresholds introduced in the Trade Union Act 2016, successful ballots for industrial action are on the increase. Back-up ...
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e-views (456 words)

A couple of years ago, I looked at the sizes of the websites of all the TUC affiliated unions to see how they compared. 
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