Labour Research September 2020

Is it healthy and safe to return to the workplace? - unions are concerned that as more people return to their workplaces, workers will be at increased risk of exposure to coronavirus; Lessons in effective union organisingLabour Research reports on two important case studies on union organising, drawn from the TUC's recent Organise 2020 conference; Higher education crisis intensifies - the pandemic has hit the university sector hard. The fiasco over A-level results has created yet more uncertainty for higher education


UK union confederations issue warning as recession bites (340 words)

The TUC and its Scottish and Welsh counterparts have warned that alarm bells could not be ringing any louder as the UK enters the worst recession ...
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University staff face huge job losses (339 words)

Up to 30,000 university staff on fixed-term contracts could be at risk of losing their jobs as the new term begins, according to the UCU lecturers’ ...
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Funding distribution promotes inequality (210 words)

The government’s distribution of school funding disproportionately benefits pupils from more affluent backgrounds, resulting in schools with pupils ...
Open access

British Gas serves notice on unions as workers face firing and rehiring (313 words)

Unions at British Gas have slammed the company’s decision to serve notice on its 20,000-strong workforce making it easier to re-hire them on ...
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Union condemns axing of PHE (246 words)

Public Health England (PHE) is being used as a scapegoat for the government’s COVID-19 failings, said general union Unite as it was announced last ...
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Challenging autumn lies ahead (252 words)

A “challenging autumn” is in store for pay and jobs with one in three organisations expecting to cut jobs in the third quarter of 2020, according ...
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Employment still weakening (199 words)

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) thinks that a slight pick-up in vacancies is being driven by smaller businesses (with some taking on staff ...
Open access

Inflation jumps (74 words)

Inflation as measured by the union-preferred Retail Price Index (RPI) rose to 1.6% in July, faster than the Consumer Price Index that includes ...
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Key economic indicators

Key economic indicators (402 words)

Inflation +1.6%, Average earnings -1.5% ...
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Union news

Coronavirus impact set to dominate online Congress (294 words)

The impact of coronavirus and the action needed to protect jobs and livelihoods will be the dominant theme of the 152nd annual TUC Congress, to be ...
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Workers secure recognition win (385 words)

More than 80 cleaners, security guards and porters working for contractor OCS at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have won the battle for recognition of ...
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UNISON election (149 words)

Five candidates had declared they are seeking the coveted post of general secretary of the almost 1.7 million-strong UNISON public services union as ...
Open access

CAC annual report (94 words)

Applications for statutory union recognition rose from 56 to 69 in the year to 31 March 2020, according to the annual report of the Central ...
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European news

Support for firms affected by COVID-19 is extended in Italy (389 words)

Following pressure from unions, the Italian government has agreed to extend financial support to employees in companies affected by COVID-19 and to ...
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German law on agency staff upheld (245 words)

Germany’s highest court has ruled that legislation prohibiting the use of agency staff as strike-breakers is constitutional, as it is essential ...
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Masks obligatory in France (82 words)

The French government has decided that masks must be worn at work in all cases other than for those in individual offices. ...
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New gender pay rules in Spain (119 words)

The Spanish government and the country’s two main union confederations, CCOO and UGT, have agreed new rules on the gender pay information employers ...
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Polish union demands (51 words)

OPZZ, one of Poland’s two main union confederations, has published a list of key demands as part of its campaign Time for a New Start. These ...
Open access


Back to work: how safe is it? (2,427 words)

This month is likely to see a major surge in people returning to workplaces after the easing of many of the restrictions put in place to reduce the ...
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We need to organise, organise, organise! (2,453 words)

Labour Research features two important union organising case studies arising from the TUC’s recent Organise 2020 conference. These examine how ...
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Crisis in universities deepens (2,300 words)

As soon as the COVID crisis broke in the UK, it was clear there would be serious consequences for further and higher education. On 18 March, colleges ...
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Law Matters

Dismissal procedure failure is discounted (322 words)

In an unusual case, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has confirmed that an employer’s failure to follow a dismissal procedure did not make the ...
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Standards must be raised for insecure workers (253 words)

There is a link between lower wages and insecure employment contracts, the TUC points out in a recent report. In Insecure work: why decent work needs ...
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Emergency legislation closes redundancy and notice pay loophole (227 words)

Emergency legislation clarifies that notice pay and redundancy pay must be based on an employee’s pre-furlough earnings. ...
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Law Queries

Change of duties (478 words)

Q. I’m an executive assistant in the property department of a law firm. Since returning from furlough, I’ve been covering general admin work for ...
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Homeworking adjustments (300 words)

Q. I have a hearing impairment and need a specialist headset to be able to hear properly during conference calls. Can I expect my employer to pay for ...
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Law Back-up

Firm loses yet another case over worker status (820 words)

Back-up up looks at the precarious position of workers highlighted by the most recent CitySprint tribunal case. ...
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Health & Safety Matters

Private test and trace contracts censured (303 words)

Unions have called for funding earmarked for private companies to provide the test and trace system for COVID-19 to be diverted urgently to local ...
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Handling of crisis is ‘social murder’, says campaign (219 words)

Ahead of the first ever virtual Hazards Conference last month, the Hazards Campaign labelled the government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis as ...
Open access

Bus drivers' deaths (104 words)

A review into the deaths of London bus drivers from COVID-19 has concluded that an earlier lockdown would have saved lives. The review, commissioned ...
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Belly Mujinga (145 words)

The Crown Prosecution Service last month concluded that there are no grounds to alter the decision of the British Transport Police (BTP) not to take ...
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Health & Safety Back-up

Teachers sound alarm over schools’ return (923 words)

The government has made clear its determination to fully reopen schools in England this month. Back-up looks at education union concerns and their ...
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Equality news

BME staff report unfair treatment during crisis (327 words)

A fifth of Black and minority ethnic (BME) workers say they have received unfair treatment at work because of their ethnicity during the COVID ...
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Pandemic has far greater impact on the low paid (307 words)

The pandemic crisis is so far having a far greater impact on low-paid workers, according to a briefing by the IES research and consultancy body. ...
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Older workers drop out of workforce (252 words)

Up to 198,000 workers over the age of 50 dropped out of the workforce in the three months from March to May, indicating that they have been forced ...
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Workplace Back-up

Lessons learned from video conferencing (846 words)

The COVID-19 lockdown has not only seen an explosion in the use of video communications software by employers, but between unions and their members. ...
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e-views (470 words)

Every year I carry out an analysis to see how the websites of TUC-affiliated unions compare for their perceived “authority”. This is a technique ...
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