Workplace Report September 2015

Living Wage - There will be a new statutory National Living Wage from April next year. How will this impact on collective agreements?; NHS - A Conservative government seems intent on putting NHS staffing into the critical ward.; Latest case law on contracts of employment and tribunal procedures

Pay and prices

Sure start to pay round
 (262 words)

The 2015-16 pay round started off a sound footing, the latest settlement data show.
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Labour Research Department three-monthly pay figures
 (227 words)

Percentage increases on lowest basic rates (by agreements covered)
Open access

Full-time weekly average earnings
 (42 words)

Source: ASHE 2014 uprated by AWE. ...
Open access

XpertHR (20 words)

Median increases for the three months ending August 2015 ...
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Average weekly earnings (AWE)
 (153 words)

Total pay including bonuses. Percentage annual increases
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Prices (77 words)

1 Retail Prices Index (RPI), 
Jan ’87=100 ...
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Inflation forecasts
 (35 words)

Fourth quarter 2015
Open access

Bargaining news

Pay restraint and caps hit public servants 
 (855 words)

Headline average weekly earnings are now rising at 2.9%, but there is clear blue water between the private and public sectors. After five years of ...
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Sports Direct targeted as other retailers pay up
 (441 words)

Sports Direct, notorious for its reliance on zero-hours contracts, is under pressure to pay the Living Wage, which other major employers from Lidl ...
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Restaurant chains in union’s sights over tips
 (320 words)

The “tronc” system of dealing with workers’ tips needs a “radical, modernising overhaul”, says the Unite general union. The call comes in ...
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Research staff strike for first time in 30 years
 (157 words)

Scientists and researchers at the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) have walked out in their first pay strike for more than 30 years. 
Open access

Offshore catering staff to be balloted over action
 (129 words)

Employers in the Catering Offshore Trade Association (COTA) have been warned by the Unite general union that it will ballot its members across the ...
Open access

Sixth form colleges agreement restores pay parity with teachers 
 (494 words)

The national agreement for teaching staff in sixth form colleges has been updated to restore parity with school teachers’ pay, in a way that ...
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Liverpool leads way
 (251 words)

Construction unions, the GMB, UCATT and Unite, have drawn up a Construction Charter to boost building workers’ conditions in Liverpool. 
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Agricultural Wages Board for Wales soon
 (279 words)

The agricultural sector in Wales will soon be taking a step closer to getting a replacement for the Wages Board for England and Wales that was ...
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Equality news

More diversity needed in creative industries
 (369 words)

New guidance has been released by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and industry regulator Ofcom to help increase diversity in the ...
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Older people not to blame for poor prospects of young 
 (315 words)

Young people’s falling long-term economic prospects are not down to older people in society hoarding all the wealth, finds a new TUC report. 
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Women lose out on well-paid jobs
 (276 words)

Women in their twenties earn more than their male counterparts but this changes dramatically when they hit their thirties.
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Learning and training news

Union provides learning on the move to members
 (432 words)

The road transport union URTU has had to address numerous obstacles to enable its members to access learning opportunities, not least because, as the ...
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Views sought on levy
 (140 words)

The government has launched a formal consultation on the apprenticeship levy proposed for all large firms from 2017. 
Open access

Recruitment and organisation news

Four recognition successes, but two ballots lost
 (286 words)

The Independent Central Arbitration Committee (CAC) has declared union recognition without the need for a ballot in four cases in the last couple of ...
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Gathering members into CWU
 (103 words)

The CWU communication workers’ union has reached a voluntary recognition agreement with Gather and Gather, a subsidiary of Mitie, which provides ...
Open access

European news

Dutch unions want 3% rise
 (522 words)

FNV, the largest union body in the Netherlands, is calling for an average 3% pay increase for 2016, well above inflation, which is currently just 0.8% ...
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Paris stores to open late
 (310 words)

Two of France’s premier luxury cosmetic stores, Sephora and Marionnaud, have reached a deal with the unions on late opening in their two flagship ...
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Austrians call for €1,700 a month minimum 
 (115 words)

Erich Foglar, head of the Austrian union confederation the ÖGB, has called for collective agreements to set €1,700 a month as the lowest monthly ...
Open access

Portuguese unions demand €600 a month
 (109 words)

Portugal’s largest union confederation, the CGTP, has called for the national minimum wage to be increased to €600 a month from January 2016. The ...
Open access

Poles get €440 
 (92 words)

The Polish labour ministry has formally announced that the national minimum wage will go up to 1,850 zł (€440 or £321) from 1 January. This is a 5 ...
Open access

Law - Contracts

Contracts - the law (581 words)

Employment rights depend, as a minimum, on the presence of an “employment relationship”. There are important legal distinctions between an ...
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Voluntary overtime comes into reckoning for holiday pay (440 words)

Mr Patterson, an assistant plant engineer, brought a tribunal claim in the Northern Ireland Industrial Tribunal (NIIT) for unlawful deduction of ...
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No proof needed for sick worker to carry over untaken holiday 
 (442 words)

Mr Plumb was employed as a printer. A work accident led to him being off sick for four years, at the end of which his employment was ended. 
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Summary dismissal justifiable over sending of porn email (462 words)

Mr Williams was a senior employee of Leeds United Football Club whose duties included spotting and nurturing new talent. ...
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Equal treatment for agency staff confined to working time and pay
 (500 words)

Mr Coles was an agency worker who had been assigned for several years to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) estates management department, looking after ...
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Refusal over companion at hearing a breach of trust
 (541 words)

Professor Stevens was a university academic who was under scrutiny over certain allegations relating to the documenting of some clinical trials of ...
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Law - Tribunal procedures

Employment tribunals - 
the law 
 (646 words)

Nearly all tribunal claims must be brought within three months of the matter complained of. Tribunals can extend the time limit in an unfair ...
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Wasted costs order should not have been made (489 words)

Mr Mullick issued a tribunal claim for race discrimination and constructive dismissal against Paul, the high street patisserie chain. The claim was ...
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Care must be taken over early conciliation paperwork (323 words)

Ms Sterling submitted a tribunal claim form, fee and application for remission to an employment tribunal four days before the claim deadline. Her ...
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Health & safety news

Fight to get bullies banned from workplace
 (373 words)

The TUC has called for action to prevent workplace bullying and encouraged people to join a union to ensure they are fairly treated at work following ...
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Risks of long working week cannot be ignored
 (322 words)

The number of people working excessive hours has risen by 15% since 2010, a new TUC analysis has found. After a decade of decline in long-hours ...
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Stress toolkit 
 (118 words)

The Scottish education union EIS has launched a new toolkit for university lecturers to help combat work-related stress after a survey it ...
Open access

Better Loos 4 U
 (66 words)

Posters and guidance have been published by the Unite general union as part of its campaign to improve toilet facilities for mobile workers including ...
Open access

Well-being plan
 (53 words)

Health unions have welcomed the £5 million plan to improve the health and well-being of health service staff announced by NHS England. 
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Health & safety - HSE Monitor

Why did HSE treat bin lorry crash as road accident?
 (273 words)

Campaign group Families Against Corporate Killers (FACK) has questioned the HSE’s decision not to investigate the fatal bin lorry crash in Glasgow ...
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Guidance for self-employed
 (348 words)

New HSE guidance has been published on how health and safety law applies to self-employed people following a change in the law that takes effect on 1 ...
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Mapping the way forward on fines
 (87 words)

The TUC has pointed to the new one-stop, interactive online map of safety fines published by the US safety regulator OSHA as the way forward for a ...
Open access

Bad Boss fined
 (87 words)

Fashion company Hugo Boss has been handed a £1.2 million fine for breaches of health and safety law after four-year-old Austen Harrison was killed ...
Open access

Corporate manslaughter 
 (64 words)

Executives from construction firm Linley Developments have pleaded guilty to the corporate manslaughter of Gareth Jones who was killed in January 2013 ...
Open access

Price of a young life 
 (130 words)

Earlier this month, Enfield-based Rooftop Rooms Ltd was fined £325,000 for breaches of health and safety law following the death of 16-year old ...
Open access


Whether statutory or voluntary Living Wage means a pay rise
 (2,605 words)

In his July Budget, chancellor George Osborne surprised everyone, and upset quite a few employers, with his announcement of a statutory National ...
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Conservatives intent on getting NHS on the cheap
 (2,369 words)

The NHS faces a staff recruitment and retention crisis, with unions raising concerns about whether staffing numbers are adequate enough to avoid ...
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