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Labour Research Department

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Contact your branch for access to LRD publications or log in via the GMB national site, The LRD is an independent research organisation which has been providing information for trade unionists for 100 years visit the LRD Home Page Here

Law at Work 2015 published

LRD’s annual employment law guide Law at Work is an accessible and trusted sources of legal information on employment rights, written specifically from the perspective of trade unions and workers and in a clear, straightforward style.

The 2015 edition of Law at Work is released against the backdrop of the election of a majority Conservative government. For trade unions, a Conservative government with a majority, however small, produces several threats to workers’ rights and freedoms. Of particular concern are government proposals to further limit industrial action law. The plans include new, far tighter restrictions on balloting thresholds and strike notification, as well as lifting the ban on using agency workers to break official strikes. These restrictions, if implemented, says the TUC, will make legal strikes “close to impossible” in this country.

Additionally, many basic rights on which workers rely – rights to working time, rest breaks, holidays, information and consultation rights, rights to work in safety, agency workers’ rights and protection on a business transfer or reorganisation – are based on European Directives. Conservative plans for an in-out referendum on European Union membership by 2017 put all these protections at risk.

It is worth reflecting too on what the election result has removed from the agenda now the Conservatives have free rein. Gone are commitments to address fairness in pay, to combat zero hours contracts, to reform the tribunal fee regime, to abolish the Swedish derogation, to expand the remit of the Gangmasters’ Licensing Authority, to use public procurement to promote stable direct employment, to reverse dangerous cuts to health and safety protection, to act against blacklisting with a proper public inquiry and to introduce electronic strike balloting.

Against this background trade unions and union representatives need to understand employment law more than ever. This year’s 440-page edition of LRD’s Law at Work has been completely updated in order to help union activists get to grips with the many unwelcome changes that have swept through the employment law system in the past year, as well those planned for introduction, including further tightening of industrial action law.

There has never been a more important time to be an active trade union member and to act together – in contrast to the bleak parliamentary outlook, Law at Work 2015highlights several recent union successes, showing how strategic court action, combined with well organised campaigning, can produce effective outcomes. These include important new rulings on holiday pay, on-call time, sickness absence rules, bonuses, sick pay and trade union rights.

Throughout, Law at Work 2015 indicates where the relevant employment law can be found and provides up-to-date case law examples, plus illustrations of the law in action. It clearly explains the key areas of employment law, enabling reps and individuals to identify their basic legal rights relating to pay and conditions, dismissal, redundancy, discrimination and so on.

Posted: 17th July 2015

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