Labour Research March 2021

Union membership and the pandemic - Some unions have seen increased membership during the pandemic as workers turn to them for protection. But others have not fared so well; New UNISON leader sets out her priorities - The newly-elected general secretary and first woman leader of one of the country’s largest unions talks to Labour Research; Childcare nightmare for working mums - Balancing work with childcare and homeschooling during lockdowns has seen working women experiencing enormous pressures


Local authority and school staff must receive substantial pay rise (335 words)

Unions are calling for a substantial pay rise for council and school workers to begin to redress a decade of cuts and to recognise the key role ...
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Uber drivers should be classified as workers, Supreme Court rules (288 words)

It’s “the end of the road for Uber’s mistreatment of drivers” the GMB general union tweeted last month following a historic Supreme Court ...
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Settled status (113 words)

The UNISON public services union is calling on the government to extend the deadline for applications to the settled status scheme past the current ...
Open access

Quarantine hotel policy criticised (129 words)

Unions have criticised the government’s failure to fully protect workers dealing with travellers arriving from “red list” countries. ...
Open access

One in 10 told to reapply for jobs on worse terms and conditions (298 words)

A TUC poll reveals that nearly one in 10 workers have been told to reapply for their jobs on worse terms and conditions or face the sack. And nearly ...
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NUJ concerned over monitoring (229 words)

The NUJ journalists’ union has expressed concern that the government is illegitimately monitoring journalists. ...
Open access

Free speech proposals slammed (220 words)

Government proposals claiming to provide greater protections for freedom of speech on university campuses in England have received heavy criticism ...
Open access

Unemployment rate rises to 5.1% (207 words)

A raised unemployment rate coincided with accelerated growth in Average Weekly Earnings over the year to December 2020. Neither yet reflected the ...
Open access

Inflation edges up (72 words)

Despite a month-on-month drop in the Retail Prices Index (RPI), the annual rate of inflation edged up to 1.4% in Januar. The CPIH figure, including ...
Open access

Key economic indicators

Inflation edges up (410 words)

Inflation +1.4%, average earnings +5.4% ...
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Union news

GMB leadership election process gets under way (289 words)

The lengthy process for electing a leader for the GMB general union is under way with a call for potential nominees, though the membership ballot ...
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Labour Party collaborates with unions on workplace rights agenda (232 words)

Labour’s shadow employment secretary Andy McDonald is working with the 12 Labour Party-affiliated unions to develop the party’s agenda on ...
Open access

Yoga teachers get organised (142 words)

Yoga teachers have voted to organise as a union for the first time in the UK by becoming a new branch of the Independent Workers’ Union of Great ...
Open access

UNISON branch review (91 words)

More online branch meetings, but with savings returned to branches, is one of 15 recommendations being put to representatives of the UNISON public ...
Open access

European news

Job support schemes must continue, says ETUC (382 words)

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has called on European governments to continue job support schemes aimed at saving jobs during the ...
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Employee status victory (264 words)

Unions, employers and the government in Spain have reached agreement on a new law giving employee status to food delivery workers at companies like ...
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Membership loss for DGB (139 words)

The DGB German union confederation lost around 85,000 members in 2020. ...
Open access

New law changes in the offing (107 words)

The Greek government has indicated that it is pressing ahead with major changes to employment law. ...
Open access


Revival for trade unions? (2,297 words)

A year ago this month, the UK entered its first national lockdown to bring down the rate of coronavirus. Labour Research looks at how trade union ...
Open access

Setting out the agenda (2,255 words)

The new general secretary and first woman leader of the UNISON public services union tells Labour Research her priorities for the union. ...
Open access

Working mums under the cosh (2,233 words)

Survey after survey has highlighted how lack of childcare during the pandemic has made the lives of working parents’, particularly mothers, near ...
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Law Matters

Government suspends cap on exit payments (349 words)

Unions have welcomed the government’s decision to suspend the cap on public sector exit payments because it has had “unintended consequences”. ...
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Major legal win for pilots over blacklisting claim (278 words)

Members of the pilots’ trade union, the British Airline Pilots Association, have won an important legal step in their claim that they were ...
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Climbdown on rights (68 words)

The government appears to have backed down on its plans to review workers’ rights. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has said that the review of ...
Open access

Wales public sector equality duty (157 words)

Public authorities subject to the public sector equality duty in Wales must publish their annual report for 2019-20 by 31 March. This must set out: ...
Open access

Law Queries

Furlough for childcare (278 words)

Q. I’ve been working from home with two primary school-aged children while the schools have been closed and am finding it increasingly difficult to ...
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Overpayment of wages (257 words)

Q. Last month, I realised I’d been overpaid and contacted HR to tell them. They replied that they had in fact overpaid me for three consecutive ...
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Time limit in discrimination claim (273 words)

Q. My line manager refused my application for promotion last summer, telling me I didn’t have enough experience. But he’s just promoted a male ...
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Law Back-up

Women disproportionately affected by covid response (881 words)

A recent report finds that the government’s COVID response has exacerbated gender inequality in the workplace. Back-up investigates. ...
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Health & Safety Matters

Urgent action needed to tackle unsafe work (297 words)

New official figures showing a higher rate of COVID-19 deaths among workers in low-paid and insecure jobs have prompted union calls for urgent ...
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Pandemic strikes at health workers’ mental well-being (215 words)

Health workers are suffering severe mental health problems as a result of the pandemic, according to a new survey by the UNISON health union. ...
Open access

Bus workers (151 words)

A survey of 900 bus workers by the RMT transport union has revealed a “wild west approach” to enforcing COVID-19 safety regulations. It found ...
Open access

DVLA Strike action call (112 words)

PCS civil service union members at the DVLA driver and vehicle licensing agency moved closer to strike action last month. A straw poll at a staff ...
Open access

Health & Safety Back-up

Calls for coronavirus public enquiry mount (894 words)

Back-up looks at calls for the government to face a public inquiry into its handling of the coronavirus crisis. ...
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Equality news

Black teachers worry over pandemic risk (378 words)

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of black teachers do not feel their school or college has done enough to address the specific and increased risks that black ...
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Union campaigning helps safeguard abuse victims (213 words)

Union campaigning has helped secure workplace protection for domestic abuse victims that will help prevent abusive partners coming to victims’ ...
Open access

Low-income parents more exposed to job loss (241 words)

Parents on the lowest incomes have been nine times more likely to report the risk of losing their job due to school closures. ...
Open access

Workplace Back-up

Spending our way back to economic recovery? (833 words)

Economic recovery may hang on consumer spending. But for many, the pandemic has meant reduced incomes, increased costs, belt-tightening and debt. ...
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e-views (453 words)

Early on in my career, I remember the frustration of inheriting a union website that was locked into a development company that provided a terrible ...
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