Labour Research February 2020

Hidden killer stalking the workplaceLabour Research turns the spotlight on the hidden phenomenon that is work-related suicide, and looks at campaigns to bring it to light; The march of the market in higher education - The marketisation of university education has seen an increasingly casualised workforce and inflated vice chancellors’ salaries; Rising tide of in-work poverty - a combination of benefit cuts and a low level of minimum wage means more and more working families are sinking into poverty


Union says probation service has been ‘brought to its knees’
 (401 words)

The findings of a damning report on the performance of the National Probation Service (NPS) have been welcomed by the Napo probation workers’ union ...
Subscribers only

Urgent action needed for A&E
 (266 words)

Unions have called for urgent government action after it was revealed last month that accident and emergency departments suffered their worst ...
Subscribers only

Power sharing
 (113 words)

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has welcomed the return of devolution at Stormont, home of the government of Northern Ireland (NI), and ...
Open access

 (138 words)

The TSSA transport union has called for a public inquiry after the heavily-delayed Crossrail project last month confirmed further major delays to the ...
Open access

Green jobs deterioration represents an ‘appalling failure’, says TUC
 (229 words)

The TUC last month described as “dreadful” new figures showing there were 11,100 fewer green jobs in the UK in 2018 compared to 2014. There was, ...
Open access

Flybe rescue package welcomed
 (304 words)

Unions have welcomed the government’s rescue package for embattled regional airline Flybe. But as Labour Research went to press, they were seeking ...
Subscribers only

Employers fall short on settled status (250 words)

Over one in three employers are not supporting EU workers with settled status applications, according to a survey by consultants Howden Employee ...
Subscribers only

Unemployment takes a fall
 (214 words)

Unemployment was cut by 7,000, latest official figures show. Unemployment in the UK in the three-month period September to November 2019 fell by 7,000 ...
Open access

RPI inflation steadies (72 words)

Retail price inflation steadied at the end of 2019. In December, the annual rate of inflation under the Retail Prices Index (RPI) was 2.2% — the ...
Open access

Key economic indicators

Key economic indicators (411 words)

Inflation +2.2%, Average earnings +3.3% ...
Subscribers only

Union news

Unions consider Labour leadership nominations (374 words)

Labour-party affiliated unions have been considering who to nominate as the next Labour leader as the four candidates seek to get through to the ...
Subscribers only

Poll finds majority want to see protection of workers’ rights
 (251 words)

Most people who voted in the 2019 general election — including those voting Conservative — want the government to protect workers’ rights. 
Subscribers only

Union considers legal action
 (116 words)

The United Voices of the World union is considering legal action against the Metropolitan Police after the head of the union’s legal department was ...
Open access

STUC's Grahame Smith backs second independence referendum
 (73 words)

Retiring Scottish TUC general secretary Grahame Smith has called on the labour movement in Scotland to support a second independence referendum.
Open access

UNISON branches
 (48 words)

The UNISON public services union is conducting a review of “what helps branches thrive and meet UNISON objectives” following a resolution passed ...
Open access

European news

Consultation on EU-wide minimum wage underway
 (469 words)

The European Commission has begun the process of consulting with unions and employers on possible arrangements for an EU-wide minimum wage. 
Subscribers only

Disruption continues in France
 (174 words)

The dispute over the French government’s plan to change the country’s pension system has continued to produce major transport disruption — ...
Open access

Ver.di recruitment campaign
 (75 words)

Ver.di, Germany’s second largest union, which organises in both public and private services, is aiming to increase its membership in 2020 from its ...
Open access

Polish union call for 
longer holidays
 (154 words)

OPZZ, one of Poland’s three main union confederations, has called on the government to introduce 35 days holiday a year. The call is among the ...
Open access


Suicide - the forgotten workplace killer
 (2,514 words)

Safety campaigners, unions and academics point out that the official response in the UK to work-related suicide is woefully inadequate. 
Open access

Marketisation leads to crisis in universities
 (2,656 words)

Today’s higher education “market” sees students take on enormous debt while degrees are delivered by an increasingly casualised workforce that ...
Subscribers only

In work and struggling to get by
 (2,528 words)

A wholly inadequate level of minimum wage and cuts to in-work benefits are seeing more and more working families descend into poverty.
Subscribers only

Law Matters

Sacking amounted to disability discrimination
 (369 words)

A senior member of hospital staff was dismissed for gross misconduct because of her behaviour following the Trust’s announcement of a restructure ...
Subscribers only

Absence of investigation meant dismissal was unfair (253 words)

There is no legal requirement for an employer to carry out separate investigation and disciplinary hearings for a dismissal to be fair, but the ...
Subscribers only

Veganism is protected
 (84 words)

An employment tribunal has concluded that ethical veganism is a “philosophical belief” and, as such, a protected characteristic under the ...
Open access

Whistleblowing Directive in force
 (68 words)

The European Whistleblowing Directive No 2019/1937 came into force on 17 December 2019. It requires member states to bring in rules to set up ...
Open access

Holiday pay guidance
 (47 words)

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has published new guidance on how to calculate holiday pay for workers on different ...
Open access

Law Queries

Dismissal following strike
 (331 words)

Q. I’ve just been selected for redundancy — nearly two months after taking part in a lawful four-day strike. There were three of us in the ...
Subscribers only

Temperature at work
 (192 words)

Q. I work in an office in a poorly-insulated building and it’s really cold. I’ve complained to my employer many times but nothing has been done ...
Open access

Fit for work
 (236 words)

Q. I have a fit note from my GP recommending reduced working hours because of a back problem that limits the length of time I can stay seated. It ...
Open access

Law Back-up

Victory for Oxford don in age discrimination ruling
 (896 words)

The dismissal of a university professor because of his age was unlawful age discrimination, according to a recent employment tribunal (ET). Back-up ...
Subscribers only

Health & Safety Matters

Transport strike ban condemned by unions
 (278 words)

Rail unions have condemned government plans to curtail the right of railway workers to strike as an attack on a fundamental human right that will ...
Subscribers only

MOD admits asbestos failings
 (261 words)

After months of pressure from the Unite general union, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has finally admitted widespread asbestos safety failings. 
Subscribers only

Knife crime concerns lead to stab vests trial (170 words)

The Post Office is trialling stab vests for cash-in-transit crews following increasing concern that knife crime is on the increase. 
Open access

RMT calls for zero tolerance approach to violence (80 words)

A new survey by the RMT rail union finds 72% of frontline transport workers have experienced workplace violence in the last year alone, with 90% ...
Open access

Health & Safety Back-up

Preparing for adverse weather conditions
 (879 words)

With severe weather events predicted to increase as a result of climate change, Back-up looks at union advice on polices on bad weather.
Subscribers only

Equality news

Lloyd’s launches trans and non-binary guide
 (313 words)

The giant insurance market, Lloyd’s of London, has issued guidance on the inclusion of trans and non-binary staff in the wake of widespread ...
Subscribers only

More support needed for employees providing care
 (261 words)

Nearly a fifth of UK employees provide unpaid care for someone close to them — but the vast majority say they receive no support from their ...
Subscribers only

Young people face fewer entry-level jobs in 2020 (234 words)

Young workers will be competing for fewer positions this year, according to data collected for the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) showing that ...
Open access

Workplace Back-up

Workers squeezed by rising household debt
 (908 words)

A new TUC analysis of household debt reveals a burgeoning debt crisis with record highs of unsecured borrowing. Back-up looks at the findings and the ...
Subscribers only


e-views (381 words)

If your union or branch is looking to develop any software or systems in the future, make sure the plans involve developing a technical specification. ...
Subscribers only

News from LRD

LRD annual general meeting (102 words)

The 2020 annual general meeting of the Labour Research Department (LRD) takes place on Monday 18 May starting at 2.00pm at Jerwood Space, 171 Union ...
Open access