The TUC has today slammed new laws that will force employees to pay upfront fees if they want to pursue a sexual harassment or race discrimination complaint against their employer.
From today it will cost someone £1,200 if they want to take their boss to an employment tribunal hearing for sexually harassing them. Worker’s facing racist abuse will also face the same barriers to justice, says the TUC.
The Evening Standard reports that protests will be held today and that employment lawyers predict “chaos”. Andy Prendergast, of the GMB says in the Independent: ‘The imposition of such fees represents the latest in a number of attacks on employment rights by the Govt. The charging of £1,200 effectively means many workers will lose any chance they had to seek redress if they are poorly treated.’
Meanwhile, the Shadow Secretary of State for Business Chuka Umunna has said on Twitter that the attack on employee rights shows the Government “want to win a global race to the bottom, not the global race to the top which we strive for.”
The Times front page: Ford jobs cuts spoil party as economy grows again
GMB, responded to the news that Fords are to close Dagenham Tool and Stamping Operation with 1,000 jobs cuts and van production in Southampton with 500 job cuts.
“This is devastating news for the workforce at Dagenham and Southampton and there will be a feeling of shock and anger and Ford’s commitment on investment will cut little ice”. Read More…
Seldom is it convincing to say that one single event can transform a wider situation. But in the case of the battle to stop the closure and sell off of the Remploy factories, this is the case. Specifically, if the threatened workers had occupied their factories, there is good reason to believe not only would have this created considerable leverage over the government but it would have also popularised the tactic of the workplace occupation in the battle to save jobs.
Since twenty seven of the 54 factories were earmarked for closure by the government by the end of the year, putting 1,700 disabled workers on the dole, and the remainder faced an uncertain future of either closure or being sold off, there has been an impressive battle fought by the workers and their unions, primarily the GMB and Unite.
It has involved strikes, high-profile demonstrations and one short occupation of the company’s HQ by less than ten workers. But there have been no workplace occupations. It is far from clear that the actions so far have created leverage over the company and, mostly importantly, the government.
Campaign for New Commission on Workers Rights from GMB, Motion from Unison on Low-Pay, Proposed Rule-Change from Aslef, Community Labour Campaign Network
AP reports that Labour Conference will include a call from the GMB union for Labour to set up a commission to “redress the balance” on workers’ rights. Such a commission might be seen as an antidote to the controversial hire-and-fire proposals in the Government commissioned Beecroft report.
Unison has submitted a motion which attacks the public sector pay freeze. It reads: “Conference condemns the prolonged pay freezes that mean public sector workers have had their real terms pay cut dramatically and notes that most of the lowest paid have not received the £250 rise that Osborne promised. Conference believes that depressing workers’ living standards in a recession is self-defeating and contributes to economic stagnation.”