Highlights in this Industrial Relations edition include: the new consultation on using agency workers to cover for striking staff, a comparison of industrial relations in different jurisdictions and analysis of the new holiday pay reforms. We also cover the implications for sponsor employers when sponsored workers take part in industrial action and share two articles in our series for Disability History Month. Plus our usual round-up of news, our horizon scanner and information on forthcoming events.
Employment: To The Point
Navigating industrial relations
Industrial relations ('IR') has returned to the front pages and the public consciousness in recent years. Industrial action in the public and private sector has been on the increase, with strikes causing significant disruption for the public.
Changes in the interpretation of the law that have impacted collective bargaining (the decision in the Supreme Court in Kostal) and the ability to seek injunctions preventing industrial action, have made it more difficult and confusing for employers dealing with challenging IR. The Government has introduced legislation to reduce industrial action or at least its impact (e.g. the introduction of Minimum Service Levels) but the Labour party, should they gain power, appear committed to increasing trade union involvement in the workplace. Given these factors, together with a tight labour market and the increasing cost of living, the importance of IR is unlikely to abate any time soon.
IR should not denote industrial action and/or conflict between management and staff; good IR can be key to organisational success. Employers should ensure their approach to IR aligns to its culture and strategy, with long-term aims being kept in mind rather than a short-term gain that may lead to years of difficult relations.
Editorial by Andrew Moore
Agency workers covering for strike action: A "scabs' charter", or an enabling measure to help economic growth?
The Government has published a new consultation on whether employers should be allowed to bring in agency workers to cover for staff taking part in strike action. Find out what it means for employers here.
Learning from global perspectives: Alternative models for UK's industrial relations
We compare the UK's trade union framework with other countries to see how they operate across different jurisdictions. Find out more here.
Holiday Pay Overhaul (Part 2): Five key changes for employers in Great Britain
The Government has announced changes to the calculation of holiday pay in Great Britain, due to come into force on 1 January 2024. Find out about the latest developments here.
UK immigration update plus industrial action: When and what do sponsors need to report?
We take a look at what and when sponsors need to report if sponsored workers are engaging in industrial action, plus new requirements to provide further information on the Sponsor Management System. Find out more here.
International: Alternative to End of Service Gratuity – Should my employer subscribe to the new scheme?
A new scheme offering eligible employers in the UAE a voluntary alternative to the existing cash end of service gratuity scheme is now in effect. Find out what it means for UAE employers here.
What else you should know
- The Government has just announced increases to the National Minimum Wage from next April. We look at what it means for employers in National Minimum Wage increases: Beware compliance pitfalls
- The Supreme Court rules that a three-month gap in a series of deductions in unlawful deductions from wages claims will not necessarily break the series. Find out more in Holiday Pay Overhaul (Part 1): Supreme Court extends liability for UK holiday pay claims
- To coincide with Disability History Month (16 November – 16 December 2023) we're writing a series of articles including Time's up – Employment tribunal time limits and mental health conditions and Mental Health in the Workplace – Supporting employee well-being
- The law is changing to make it easier to prosecute companies for certain corporate offences in the UK. Find out more in Corporate criminal liability through senior managers – what could this mean?
- The Government has published its response to its consultation and an updated Code of Practice on the reasonable steps trade unions will need to take to encourage compliance with work notices under the new Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023. It has also published non-statutory guidance for employers, trade unions and workers on issuing work notices and laid draft regulations to set minimum service levels during strike action affecting border security, passenger rail and ambulance services. In other developments the Government has responded to its consultations on reforms to the Working Time Regulations 1998 and to TUPE publishing draft regulations as well as draft regulations to replicate certain equality rights derived from EU law. We also report on criminal record disclosures timescales which have been reduced and on the recent Supreme Court judgment on trade union freedoms.
For our latest Horizon Scanner covering all the latest legislative developments and forthcoming cases in employment law, visit our website page here.
We are delighted to announce our Industrial Relations Training: What Happens When an Industrial Dispute Escalates? where our Industrial Relations team will be joined by Andrew Burns KC and Marianne Tutin of Devereux Chambers. We'll lead you through an interactive case study examining the processes and pitfalls of an industrial dispute as well as sessions looking at key considerations and recent and future developments. You can find more information and register for this event here.
Industrial relations training: what happens when an industrial dispute escalates?Register your interest
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