In January the vpod public services union won an important case for live-in (24 hours) care workers. The federal court ruled that 24-hour carers, who are placed in private households by temporary employment agencies, must be covered by the labour code. Previously, these workers had no protection which meant no limit to working hours and no rights to rest or time-off because the labour code didn’t apply to working arrangements in private households. The union will continue to campaign for live-in care workers’ rights as the ruling does not apply to those directly employed by households.
Union legal case delivers for live-in care workers
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A successful legal case backed by the UNISON public services union means that employers will no longer be able to mistreat workers who take part in union-organised workplace disputes. UK law had previously prevented employers from sacking staff, but not from disciplining or making life difficult for them. The employment appeal tribunal (EAT) case was taken by care worker Fiona Mercer against the Alternative Futures Group. She had been involved in a long-running dispute and was disciplined, suspended, and prevented from going into work by her employer. The EAT said that UK law was not compliant
The Fagforbundet public services union reports that its legal action against the Aleris social care multinational began on 14 January. The union brought the action on behalf of workers who argue that they are employees of the company and not "consultants" as claimed by Aleris. As self-employed consultants they have far fewer rights and Aleris was able to exploit them, for example, by giving them excessively long shifts. Fagforbundet sees the case as a key challenge to social dumping, highlighting the negative impact not just on the workers but also the quality of service to groups of very