Workplace Report March 2021

Negotiating the future of work: automation - Even in the middle of the Covid crisis, automation is emerging as the next major issue for workers. But is it a threat or an opportunity? We take a look at where unions stand on the issue; The facts behind the freeze - The government has taken short-term earnings trends during the lockdown as justification for a new freeze on public sector pay. We examine whether its arguments measure up; Latest case law on agency workers

Pay and prices

Ambiguous earnings growth continues (129 words)

Official figures for average weekly earnings in December 2020 for regular pay (excluding bonuses) in the whole economy grew by a healthy 4.5%. ...
Open access

Labour Research Department’s Payline database (221 words)

Percentage increases on lowest basic rates (by agreements covered) ...
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Average weekly earnings (AWE) (241 words)

Regular pay excluding bonuses. Percentage annual increases ...
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Full-time weekly average earnings (33 words)

Open access

XpertHR (21 words)

Median increases for three months to end of January 2021 ...
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Prices (77 words)

1 Retail Prices Index (RPI), 
Jan ’87=100 ...
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2021 forecasts (40 words)

1 Fourth quarter ...
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Bargaining news

Workers’ voices will be heard in North Sea transition (777 words)

Unions representing offshore workers in the North Sea will not be sidelined as the oil and gas industry adjusts to climate change and falling demand, ...
Subscribers only

New challenge to RPI change that ‘could cost billions’ (158 words)

Government plans to change the Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure so that it aligns with the usually lower Consumer Prices Index including ...
Open access

Bus drivers ready to strike over pay (194 words)

More than 2,200 London bus drivers are taking strike action in a dispute with RATP, the bus group owned by the French state. ...
Open access

Teaching unions join to resist freeze (391 words)

Four teaching unions have joined forces to reject the public sector pay freeze and call for significant reform to the national pay structure in ...
Subscribers only

Rail pay freeze poses ownership question (280 words)

The government is using its temporary control of the privatised rail network to impose a pay freeze, but reportedly may also be contemplating full ...
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British Gas strike continues (160 words)

The walkout by over 7,000 British Gas engineers is set to continue after talks between the company and the GMB general union at ACAS collapsed. ...
Open access

More Rolls-Royce jobs saved (280 words)

In a win for beleaguered aerospace workers, the Unite general union has secured an agreement with Rolls-Royce to safeguard 650 jobs at its plants in ...
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Naval base workers consider strike action (323 words)

Unite members at Faslane and Coulport naval bases are balloting for industrial action in a dispute over pay and bargaining rights with their employer ...
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Supreme Court rejects Uber appeal (72 words)

After a four-year legal battle the Supreme Court has ruled in favour of Uber drivers represented by the GMB, determining that they are not ...
Open access

Exit payment cap dropped ahead of union-backed legal challenges (86 words)

The government has revoked the controversial Restriction of Public Sector Exit Payments Regulations 2020 which capped redundancy payments across the ...
Open access

NI council victory (103 words)

Trade unions at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (Unite, GMB, NIPSA and SIPTU) are celebrating success after suspending industrial action over ...
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Equality news

Single parents most likely to be in problem debt (448 words)

Single parents are more likely than any other sector of society to be living with problem debt, according to a report by charities Gingerbread and ...
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Number of FTSE 100 Black CEOs drops to zero (325 words)

There are currently no Black chief executives, chairs or chief financial officers in FTSE 100 companies, according to an analysis by consultancy ...
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BAME workers hardest hit by Covid job losses says TUC (354 words)

Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) workers have been hit much harder by job losses during the pandemic than White workers, a TUC analysis of government ...
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Learning and training news

Skills for jobs plan garners faint praise (618 words)

Unions and adult education experts have criticised the government’s recent skills for jobs proposals, which the TUC says are inadequate to ...
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Recruitment and organisation news

Unions win more recognition deals (370 words)

The PDAU pharmacists’ union and LloydsPharmacy have reached a voluntary union recognition agreement covering around 2,600 pharmacists, removing the ...
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TUC guide to organising (60 words)

The TUC has produced an interactive guide to help reps get started on organising and recruitment campaigns in their workplace. ...
Open access

European news

German elderly care agreement may set new minimum (240 words)

Ver.di, Germany’s second largest union, and the employers’ organisation BVAP, representing care home companies, have reached agreement on new ...
Open access

Staged deal covers 1.6 million Italian metalworkers (557 words)

After 15 months of negotiations and a nationwide strike in November, unions and employers have finally reached agreement on an above-inflation pay ...
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Danish public sector workers settle (177 words)

Danish unions and employers have reached agreement on two separate three-year deals for workers in the public sector. ...
Open access

Spanish banks sign five-year deal (123 words)

The Spanish banking employers’ association AEB, which covers many of the country’s largest banks, has reached a five-year settlement with unions ...
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Law - Agency workers

Agency workers — the law (728 words)

Most statutory employment rights depend on someone’s “employment status”. Key minimum employment rights such as the National Minimum Wage ...
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Zero hours agency workers have AWR rights (942 words)

The claimant, Mr Kocur, was one of 17,343 agency workers working for Angard Staffing Solutions, Royal Mail’s wholly-owned subsidiary. Angard does ...
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Disappointing ruling clarifies scope of AWR (2,487 words)

The next case followed on from the ET challenge by the Angard agency workers against Royal Mail and its wholly owned subsidiary, Angard Staffing ...
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Law - Tribunal procedures

Remote hearings now the norm in the ET (547 words)

Even before the pandemic hit, the Employment Tribunal (ET) service faced a huge backlog of claims, as a result of chronic government under-funding of ...
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Health & safety news

Quarantine hotels ‘endangering workers’ (353 words)

Unions representing hospitality and hotel, security and maritime workers are warning that last minute government guidelines on quarantine hotels for ...
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Concerns over workplace tests continue despite roll-out rise (407 words)

Longstanding concerns about the accuracy of Innova lateral flow tests remain, despite the government’s recent announcement on expanding workplace ...
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TUC renews furlough call after 1.7 million more told to shield (174 words)

The TUC has repeated its call for the government to introduce a temporary right to furlough for groups who cannot work because of coronavirus ...
Open access

Union calls for guidance for higher risk groups (97 words)

UNISON has called on the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to improve its guidance for employers on how to protect Black, disabled and other ...
Open access

Health & safety - HSE Monitor

Re-categorise Covid risks, unions tell HSE (408 words)

The Prospect specialists’ union has demanded that the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) re-categorises the risks associated with Covid-19 in order ...
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Academics and unions call for PPE review (325 words)

In a letter published in the Lancet, occupational health experts from the universities of Manchester, Nottingham and De Montfort, Leicester called on ...
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HSE announces new chief inspector of buildings (67 words)

The HSE has appointed its current director of building safety and construction, Peter Baker, as chief inspector of buildings, to establish and lead ...
Open access

Union demands more HSE funding and aerosol transmission action (199 words)

Prospect has highlighted “the critical importance” of HSE funding ahead of the March budget and described additional money provided last year as ...
Open access


Negotiating the future of work: automation (3,133 words)

Even in the middle of the Covid crisis, automation is emerging as the next major issue for workers. But is it a threat or an opportunity? Workplace ...
Open access

The facts behind the freeze (1,853 words)

The government has taken short-term earnings trends during the lockdown as justification for a new freeze on public sector pay. We examine the data ...
Subscribers only