The GMB energy and general union declared an end to the long and bitter dispute with British Gas over its aggressive policy of firing and rehiring workers. GMB members voted three to one to accept a new deal. Around 7,000 British Gas engineers staged 44 days of strike action after the company threatened to sack them if they didn’t sign up to detrimental changes to their terms and conditions. The new deal offers improvements to overtime rates and unsocial hours payments, places limits on the amount of unsocial working undertaken, reverses the decision to close the defined benefit pension scheme
Health unions believe that a new agreement on flexible working will help create a better work-life balance for many employees and improve recruitment. However, they also underline the importance of increasing staffing levels to ensure that the agreement can be fully implemented. The new contractual terms will allow staff to: request flexible working from the start of their employment (removing the requirement to have six months’ service); make an unlimited number of applications for flexible working, instead of just one a year; submit applications without having to justify requests or provide
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
Trade unions representing workers in local government and non-teaching staff in schools and higher education have rejected the 1.5% pay offers made by employers across these sectors. In local government and schools unions were looking for a 10% pay rise to begin to restore the loss of purchasing power over more than 10 years of pay freezes and below-inflation increases. They also argue that the pay offer is an insult in view of the efforts made by workers during the pandemic. In higher education the unions had claimed a GBP 2500 (EUR 2900) annual increase and minimum hourly wage of GBP 10 (EUR
The PCS public and commercial services union reports strong support for its second round of strike action at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority in South Wales. Other unions and Labour MPs have backed the action which aims to secure improved health and safety provision at a workplace that has seen some of the highest rates of COVID infections anywhere in the country. Meanwhile the union is also celebrating a positive result from strike action taken by its members working in the court service but employed by the OCS multinational. They secured a new two-year agreement backdated to April
Members of the PCS civil service union at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) in Swansea, South Wales, have agreed to take another four days of strike action from 4-7 May. This follows the four-day action on 6-9 April that the union says was strongly supported. PCS is concerned that DVLA management have failed to take action to address safety concerns following very high levels of COVID-19 infections at the site where 4000 workers are employed. The union has also argued about the level of continuing risk involved from allowing 2000 workers to carry on working at the site.
In February this year, the Supreme Court in the UK ruled that Uber, the driving, and delivery platform, should treat its drivers as workers and not as self-employed. This follows a trend across Europe where courts in several countries have forced digital platforms to revise the employment relationship with the workers providing their services. Platform work is changing the economic and social landscape, revolutionising the way services are delivered while raising major questions about social and labour rights.
Over 1400 workers, members of the PCS civil service union, took strike action from 6-9 April in protest at the failure to address safety issues at the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Agency (DVLA) in Swansea in South Wales. Over 600 DVLA employees have tested positive for COVID since last September with no effective response from management or the Department of Transport (DoT). Following the strike the union has called for immediate talks to resume with the DoT and will be discussing next steps with members.
In contrast to the 1% increase on the table in England, health trade unions in Scotland are considering a 4% pay offer. This would be backdated to 1 December 2020 and cover the period to 31 March 2022. The lowest pay rates (up to around GBP 25000 pa (EUR 29000)) would get a GBP 1009 (EUR 1180) increase worth 5.46% for the lowest paid. The 4% applies to pay rates from GBP 25000 to around GBP 50000 (EUR 58500) and higher rates get lower increases. Health trade unions have been calling for higher pay rises, not just in recognition of the efforts of staff during the pandemic but also as a crucial
Health unions have attacked the government for offering a 1% pay increase to health workers – a figure that unions say will fail to keep pace with inflation and does nothing to compensate workers for the real term loss in pay over the past 10 years. The RCN nursing union is calling for a 12.5% increase for nursing staff which it underlines is crucial to deliver fair pay, recruitment, retention, and safe staffing. The GMB general workers’ union reveals the impact of pay freezes and below-inflation pay rises since 2010 that have effectively cut staff pay by anything from GBP 3000 (EUR 3500) to
PCS, the largest union in the civil service, has negotiated a three-year deal covering workers in the HMRC department (revenues and customs), the third largest section of the civil service with around 60000 workers. The deal includes an average 13% increase in pay over three years: with 3% paid in March 2021 and backdated to June 2020; a further 5% payable from June 2021; and a further 5% payable from June 2022. The pay award is significantly weighted towards providing major increases for the lowest paid. The agreement also allows for significant progression through the various pay ranges for
The three main unions representing municipal workers – Unison, Unite and GMB – have put in a pay claim for an increase of at least 10% from this April. They say this will begin to redress a decade of cuts and recognise the key role played in the pandemic by school and council staff. The negotiations cover staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and the claim aims to bring the lowest paid workers above £10 (EUR 11.50) per hour. This would put them above the real “living wage” of £9.50 (EUR 10.90) per hour (outside London). The unions calculate that staff working in local government