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February 2008

Violence at work
Regular contact with members of the public can leave workers at risk of
attack. Workplace Report looks at measures that can tackle the problem

Service-related pay
Linking pay to long service may be discriminatory on grounds of age and
sex. We review the progress of efforts to reduce the length of pay scales

Law at work
The latest case law on discrimination

Health and safety

HSE condemns fire authority’s practices following fatal blaze

Bargaining news
Another public-sector pay rise exceeds 2% government target

Select committee says equal pay audits should be mandatory

Learning and training

Pay is missing element in apprenticeship proposals, says TUC

Recruitment and organisation The Labour Research

Construction giant can’t block RMT recognition on Forth Bridge Department monthly
Europe for union reps and
Nationwide strike ends pay dispute for metalworkers in Italy negotiators

Prices inch Labour Research Department three-monthly pay figures

Percentage increases on lowest basic rates (by agreements covered).
ahead of pay For the three months up to and including:
This payround,
2008 Aug-
rises again All agreements
Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul
3.7 3.7 3.5 3.6 3.6 4.2 4.0 3.9
Aug Sep Oct
Dec Jan Jan
3.9 4.0 3.6
THE latest figures from the LRD Private sector 3.9 3.8 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.3 4.3 4.1 3.6 3.9 4.0 4.0 4.0
Payline database of collective agree- Public sector 3.0 3.0 3.4 3.4 3.4 2.8 3.0 2.8 3.0 2.5 3.0 3.0 3.0
ments shows a median pay increase Manual 3.9 3.9 3.6 3.7 3.6 4.2 4.2 4.1 3.5 3.6 3.9 4.1 3.9
of 4.0% in settlements reached or Non-manual 3.4 3.5 3.4 3.5 3.5 4.0 3.6 3.5 3.2 3.3 3.5 4.0 3.4
stages commenced over the three All industries 3.5 3.6 3.6 3.6 3.7 4.3 4.3 4.1 3.5 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0
months to January – meaning that All services 4.0 3.9 3.5 3.5 3.5 4.0 3.5 3.5 3.2 3.4 3.5 4.0 3.5
settlements are lagging very slightly
behind inflation again. The only For the 12 months up to and including:
significant variation in median in- Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Nov
creases is between the private and By agreements 3.0 3.0 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.7 3.6 3.7 3.7
public sectors, with the latter aver- By workers covered 3.0 3.0 3.3 3.7 3.7 3.9 3.9 3.9 3.7 3.6 3.6 3.5
aging just 3.0%.
The figures show median (midpoint) pay settlements among all the agreements monitored through the LRD pay and
conditions database. The weighted median (by number of workers covered) appears in the 12-monthly table.
Whichever measure is used, infla-
tion has increased. In the year to
January the retail prices index (RPI)
rose by 4.1%, up from December’s
Full-time weekly Average earnings indices (including bonuses)
figure of 4.0%; the RPI excluding average earnings Earnings
index1 for
% annual rise
mortgage interest payments (RPIX)
All workers £565.70 whole Whole Manufac- Services Private Public
increased from 3.1% to 3.4%; and
All male £623.70 economy economy turing sector sector
growth in the consumer prices index
(CPI), previously 2.1%, was 2.2%. All female £476.20 Oct 2006 (r) 128.0 4.4 5.3 4.5 4.7 3.2
The CPI, the government’s preferred Managers £851.40 November (r) 127.9 3.8 4.7 4.0 4.1 3.0
measure of inflation, has now been Professionals £763.40 December (r) 128.8 3.9 3.9 4.3 4.1 3.3
above its official target rate of 2.0% Associate professional £583.60 Jan 2007 129.3 4.9 3.5 5.3 5.2 3.3
for four months. Admin & secretarial £389.50 February 131.3 4.9 3.6 5.4 5.4 2.8
Skilled/craft £475.40 March 129.7 3.5 3.5 3.3 3.8 3.1
Earnings Services £334.50 April 129.8 3.4 3.2 3.6 3.2 3.2
The average earnings index (includ- Sales £315.40 May 130.5 3.6 4.4 3.5 3.8 3.0
ing bonuses) for the whole economy Operatives £440.30 June 131.1 3.2 3.9 3.2 3.2 3.1
rose by 3.6% in the year to Decem- Other manual £343.20 July 131.5 3.8 4.3 3.8 4.2 2.5
ber, well down on the 4.2% in the
Source: ASHE 2007 uprated by AEI August 132.1 4.2 2.8 4.6 4.4 3.2
year to November. But the figure
excluding bonuses was 3.8%, slight- September 132.7 4.2 2.2 4.5 4.4 3.2
ly higher than November’s 3.7%. Other pay analysts October (r) 132.7
November (r) 133.2
The public and private sector
average increases were 3.3% and Industrial Relations Services December (p) 133.5 3.6 4.3 3.6 3.8 3.3
3.8% respectively (3.7% and 3.8% (median, three months to
Headline rate2 for Dec 3.8 3.5 3.9 4.0 3.3
excluding bonuses), while manufac- end January 2008) 3.5%
2000=100. 2 Average of earnings increases for latest three months compared
turing earnings increased by 4.3% Incomes Data Services to a year earlier. (r) revised. (p) provisional. Source: National Statistics.
(4.0%) and those in the service sec- (median, three months to Average of average earnings forecasts for 2008 is 4.0% (HM Treasury).
tor by 3.6% (3.9%). end January 2008) 4.0%

Inflation forecasts
Prices Retail prices % annual increases
index (RPI),
Prices Retail prices % annual increases
index (RPI), Fourth quarter 2008
RPI RPI excl. RPI RPI excl.
Jan ’87=100 mortgages Jan ’87=100 mortgages RPI RPI
Dec 2006 202.7 4.4 3.8 July 206.1 3.8 2.7 excluding
January 2007 201.6 4.2 3.5 August 207.3 4.1 2.7 mortgages
February 203.1 4.6 3.7 September 208.0 3.9 2.8 Average 2.6% 2.9%
March 204.4 4.8 3.9 October 208.9 4.2 3.1 Oxford Economic
2.4% 2.7%
April 205.4 4.5 3.6 November 209.7 4.3 3.2 Forecasting
May 206.2 4.3 3.3 December 210.9 4.0 3.1 NIESR 3.0% 2.9%
June 207.3 4.4 3.3 January 2008 209.8 4.1 3.4 Source: HM Treasury, Forecasts for the
UK Economy, February 2008

2 Workplace Report February 2008



Soldiers’ pay increase
‘reflects disadvantage’
BBC agrees to make job losses voluntary
“Living wage” rise for Kingston cleaners
NUJ halts Reuters’ imposed restructuring
RMT negotiates for more FGW train crew THIS year’s second public-sector pay award based creased danger, turbulence, separation and hours
on a pay review body’s report was decided by the of work) but an improvement in civilian life”, and
RECRUITMENT AND ORGANISATION 5 government this month, with defence secretary the X factor should rise accordingly.
Union wins recognition for Forth painters Des Browne announcing that members of the armed Like the 2.45% pay rise announced for school-
2007’s top organisers win USDAW acclaim forces will receive a 2.6% pay rise from April. teachers last month (see January’s Workplace
UNISON can carry on at its convenience The increase was in line with the recommenda- Report, page 3), which has prompted the NUT
tions of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AF- teachers’ union to hold a strike ballot, the basic
PRB), and raises the lowest salary for a soldier to 2.6% increase is well below inflation as measured
£16,227. The longer separation allowance will also by the retail prices index – but it exceeds the 2%
Equal pay progress is too slow, say MPs
be increased, meaning that personnel deployed limit on pay rises which the prime minister is
Study shows IiP’s discriminatory effect
overseas will receive at least £1,100 for a six- seeking to impose across the public sector.
Building workers need Easter flexibility month tour. However, a spokesperson for the prime minis-
Additionally, there will be an increase in the ter has claimed that the 2% target may not apply
LEARNING AND TRAINING 7 “X factor” – a premium on service personnel’s pay to this year’s pay awards.
TUC demands more pay for apprentices reflecting the disadvantages of life in the armed “Decisions need to be taken year by year, sec-
£2m funding for union-led learning project forces – from 13% to 14% this year. tor by sector,” he told the Guardian newspaper.
Get involved in Learning at Work Day The AFPRB said the past five years had seen “Difficult decisions had to be taken last year in
“an increase in the disadvantages of service life relation to a number of public sector workers. We
EUROPE 8 (most pronounced in priority areas such as in- haven’t made decisions yet for this year.”
Italy’s unions preserve metalworking deal
Soaring salaries for pilots at Lufthansa

Discrimination law
More Royal Mail deals
HEALTH AND SAFETY 13-14 THE CWU communication workers’ union has ne- The two-year offer, worth 2.5% backdated to
Construction death toll is 50 in 10 months gotiated pay deals for workers in Royal Mail’s April 2007 and a further 2.7% from this April, was
GMB demands funding for safer minicabs Customer Services, Finance Operations and Peo- dismissed as “unacceptable” by the union – but
Leeds University commits £1.4m to safety ple & Organisational Development Services it did not take long for managers to return to the
Fire service receives improvement notice (P&ODS) divisions. negotiating table with improved offers, both of
Advisory council will oversee deregulation The two-stage Customer Services award will which were endorsed by the executive.
begin with a 5.2% increase in basic pay, London The Finance Operations agreement features
Occupational health institute slams HSE
allowances and weekday overtime, all included in increases in pensionable pay of between 5.2% and
February salaries and backdated to 1 October last 12.7%, all backdated to 1 October 2007 and flow-
Violence at work 15-17
year. This will be followed on 1 April by a further ing through to weekday overtime. Additionally, the
Employers have a legal duty to protect
1.7% increase, conditional on the deployment of pay scale has been extended by two pay points,
workers from the risk of attack, but
the division’s “customer change programme”. which staff can move onto if they reach the inter-
unions need to ensure that such However, as with the recent award for Royal Mail mediate and qualified stages of the Association
protection is effective and appropriate. administrative workers (see Workplace Report, of Accounting Technicians qualification. This will
We look at the legislative framework and December 2007, page 4), there is no increase for increase the maximum pay rate for Finance Op-
some union-led workplace initiatives. the first six months following the previous set- erations staff by a further 11.4% to £21,000.
tlement’s expiry date of 31 March 2007. Other elements of the deal include the re-
Service-related pay 17-19 CWU members approved the new settlement, moval of a pay ceiling for data input roles, and a
Can payments linked to long service be which runs until 31 March 2009, by a seven-to-one £250 increase in employees’ potential bonus from
non-discriminatory? We find out, and margin this month. Assistant secretary Andy Furey 1 April this year.
look at alternative employee benefits described the award as “good news”, adding: “I The deal in P&ODS is worth between between
that have been negotiated by unions. am pleased that we have been able to secure 5.2% and 14.29%, again with flowthrough to
members a fair reward for their ongoing commit- weekday overtime and backdated to 1 October. It
Workplace Report is published by the ment to the business.” will also improve many employees’ annual leave
Labour Research Department. For The Customer Services and administrative entitlement.
subscription details and other awards were used by the CWU executive as bench- The agreements, both of which run until March
information, see the back page. marks last month when it rejected a pay offer for 2009, are currently being voted on by CWU mem-
Finance and P&ODS employees. bers in the respective divisions.

February 2008 Workplace Report 3


Reuters backs
down over
BBC settles dispute over
new job roles compulsory redundancies
A PLAN to change journalists’ PROLONGED negotiations between Agreement was also reached on The unions are now to ballot their
career structures unilaterally at the BBC and unions appear to have the other matters covered in the members on the agreement, but not
press agency Reuters has been ended a long-running dispute over dispute: until next month. With BECTU gen-
withdrawn after the NUJ media job cuts at the broadcaster. f the unpredictability allowance eral secretary Gerry Morrissey de-
union announced a ballot of its Last month the entertainment will remain for new starters, but at a scribing the negotiations as “par-
members over industrial action. union BECTU, the NUJ journalists’ reduced rate, and will be subject to ticularly difficult given the financial
The company, whose union and the general union Unite a review by a management/union constraints on the BBC and the
impending merger with Canadian- suspended the strike ballots that working party; number of areas targeted for cuts”,
owned information company they had called over plans for com- f the preferential arrangements for union negotiators have warned their
Thomson has been the source of pulsory redundancies and changes employees made redundant at the members that “anything better will
anxiety for its staff, has recently to allowances, pensions and redun- age of 45 or over, under which they only be achieved through sustained
been reviewing job classifications dancy terms (see Workplace Report, receive a full pension, will continue and bitter industrial action”.
across its operations. But last January 2008, page 5). until at least 2011; and
month the NUJ criticised the The unions had particularly f a 1.5% increase in staff pension f Unions have expressed relief at
“shabby way” in which Reuters criticised managers for ignoring the contributions has been deferred BBC Scotland’s announcement that
had treated its journalists by results of a trawl for redundancy until next year. it is unlikely to pursue compulsory
imposing new roles on them. volunteers – particularly in the TV On the issue of pay, however, redundancies as part of the current
“Our members are furious programme-making arm BBC Vision there is bad news for the unions – round of job cuts.
that the company’s management – and “cherry picking” employees the BBC has withdrawn from its The division is planning to scrap
seems to think it can ride for the axe. But after two weeks of commitment, expressed in last 100 jobs, but more than 100 employ-
roughshod over its agreements talks, the two sides agreed that at year’s two-year pay settlement, to ees responded to its request for re-
with the union,” said union rep least 100 of the redundancies in BBC re-open negotiations on the 2008 dundancy volunteers. Although at
Myra MacDonald. “This is not just Vision will involve volunteers, with increase of 2% if growth in the retail least 20 of these staff do not work in
about job roles, but about the 120 redeployment opportunities prices index exceeds 2% in April. areas directly targeted for cuts, BBC
NUJ’s right to hold meaningful created for staff who are made re- For NUJ general secretary Jeremy Scotland has agreed to consider
negotiations with management dundant. Additionally, no compul- Dear, the agreement represents “a releasing them in order to create
as we go into a merger that will sory redundancies will take place basis on which we can address fur- redeployment opportunities for
have huge implications for the until the end of this month. ther changes proposed by the BBC”. other at-risk staff; it will report back
future of our journalists and the However, the unions have also He added: “We’re pleased that the to unions on this next month.
quality of our journalism.” had to accept a new agreement for imminent threat of compulsory re- BECTU Scottish officer Paul Mc-
This month, however, the future redundancies, with elements dundancies has been addressed Manus said the number of volunteers
union suspended its proposed including the removal of the BBC’s and that all staff required to work for redundancy, together with BBC
strike ballot after Reuters agreed duty to seek volunteers before decid- unpredictable hours will continue to Scotland’s response, “makes the
not to implement the changes ing who will lose their jobs. get a fair deal.” current situation more palatable”.
until further discussions had

University’s outsourced
NUJ national organiser Barry
Fitzpatrick said Reuters
management had “seen sense”

workers get £7.50 an hour

by taking the changes to the
negotiating table at last, but
warned that Reuters and
Thomson were failing to take
account of NUJ members’ CLEANERS and other support staff at port, student residential manage- Jon Richards, the union’s na-
concerns in the run-up to the south London’s Kingston University ment and security services – pro- tional head of higher education, said
merger. He urged both companies saw their minimum hourly wage in- vides for a further 4% increase next the settlement “begins to recognise
to “engage in meaningful talks” crease to £7.50 this month under a February, taking the minimum rate the contribution that all staff make
with the union. new pay settlement negotiated by to £7.80 an hour. to supporting students”, while as-
European and American UNISON public services union. And UNISON has secured a com- sistant branch secretary Roger El-
competition authorities are The two-year deal with the King- mitment from the company to har- dred welcomed “the commitment to
currently considering the ston University Service Company – a monise its employees’ pay rates with harmonise pay and conditions in the
proposed merger, with a decision wholly owned subsidiary of the those of the university’s directly longer term as a springboard to end
expected next month. university which also provides trans- employed staff. the two-tier workforce.”

4 Workplace Report February 2008


Bridge ballot helps RMT UNISON wins

across troubled waters for cleaners
THE RMT rail union has won recogni- in which the union – which already proposal – forcing the union to seek PUBLIC services union UNISON
tion at Palmers Ltd, a contractor represented members employed by statutory recognition from the Cen- has been awarded statutory
working on the Forth Bridge in the other contractors on the bridge – tral Arbitration Committee (CAC). recognition, without the need to
east of Scotland, despite what the regularly leafleted outside the work- A ballot of the workforce ordered go through a ballot, for
union saw as opposition from con- place, held mass meetings away by the CAC showed a clear majority Westminster Council cleaners
struction giant Balfour Beatty – the from the workplace and sent out in favour of recognition, and the employed by a private contractor.
senior partner in the contractors’ newsletters to members. union is now negotiating a proce- Last June, the union applied to
alliance on the project. Within months, the RMT had built dural agreement with Palmers. the CAC for recognition on behalf
Painters employed by Palmers on up membership to around half of the Donald Graham of the RMT’s or- of staff at Carlisle Cleaning and
the bridge, which is owned by Net- workforce, and it then arranged a ganising unit said: “This recognition Support Services who work on a
work Rail Infrastructure, approached meeting with Palmers in the hope of deal sends out the message that we contract for Westminster’s public
the RMT two years ago with the aim agreeing voluntary recognition. The can also win recognition with other conveniences. Six months later,
of joining the union and gaining company initially seemed interested, companies if workers want RMT to the CAC reported that 63% of the
recognition. This led to a campaign but Balfour Beatty opposed the represent them.” bargaining unit’s workers were
already UNISON members, and
RETAIL UNION ENDS YEAR WITH 2,000 NEW REPS AND A 16-YEAR MEMBERSHIP HIGH that there was petition evidence
in support of recognition.

USDAW ceremony honours outstanding reps However, Carlisle argued that

there should be a ballot of the
staff; it said it had already set up
SHOPWORKERS’ union USDAW re- deliberately glitzy event celebrating new starters at inductions, often a works council, and claimed that
cruited 2,000 new reps in 2007, and the hard work of USDAW reps across outside her normal working hours. some workers may have signed
ended the year with 356,046 mem- eight categories. Last year David became a “stand the petition without knowing
bers – its highest membership level This year’s individual recruitment down rep” (temporarily seconded to what it was about.
for 16 years. award went to Susan David, a shop the union to establish organising But the CAC ruled last month
The announcement was made at steward at supermarket chain Mor- activities in a variety of workplaces) that there was no evidence of the
the union’s third national Organis- rison’s Neath branch who has raised and recruited 112 new members in a need for a ballot, and ordered
ing Awards ceremony last month – a membership to 93% by recruiting two-week period. Carlisle to recognise the union.


RMT is on guard at Great Western

THE threat of strike action by mem- stoppage was scheduled for 20 and work as guards or drivers, be it for held back from setting strike dates
bers of the RMT rail union at train 21 January, but this was suspended commercial reasons, to manage because of “significant progress” in
company First Great Western (FGW) with days to go so that negotiations rostering deficiencies or to cover negotiations.
has secured a guarantee from the could take place. staff shortages, and that marks an And the TSSA transport union is
company that it will not use manag- The union had claimed that the important victory,” said RMT general currently consulting its members on
ers to guard or drive trains. use of managers to do its members’ secretary Bob Crow. “Our members plans by FGW to harmonise the
FGW has also pledged to create jobs was indicative of “a total break- are to be congratulated for the de- terms and conditions of all its sta-
more than 40 new guards’ jobs down in industrial relations” and “a termination and solidarity they dis- tion staff. The current proposal has
across its operations, under a deal confrontational style of manage- played during these disputes.” been slightly amended from a version
reached after a ballot of the RMT’s ment”, and had voiced its intention Fellow rail union ASLEF has also that was rejected by former Link and
500 guards at the company last to ballot all its members at FGW on been in dispute with FGW over “mis- Wessex employees on the grounds
month showed a majority of more industrial action. But “detailed talks” management, a failure to apply that it would reduce their pay for
than two to one in support of a lasting three weeks resulted in agreed disciplinary procedures and Sunday working. However, the union
strike. With train drivers backing agreement between the two sides. grading issues”. ASLEF members points out that a reduction in the
strike action by a four-to-one major- “The company has given clear voted overwhelmingly for industrial working week for Link staff will in-
ity in their own ballot, a 48-hour undertakings that managers will not action last month, but the union crease their hourly rates.

February 2008 Workplace Report 5


Building firms
can be good
MPs demand ‘determined
eggs at Easter effort’ on gender pay gap
A JOINT initiative between building AN influential committee of MPs has and lower valued than men’s”. But downs”. It highlights “the need to
companies and construction called on the government to con- it is concerned “at the lack of a promote greater equality” through
union UCATT is urging employers sider introducing mandatory equal timetable and committed funding” apprenticeships, and advises the
to take family-friendly policies on pay audits and extending the gender in the government’s response to the Equality and Human Rights Commis-
board over the Easter break. equality duty – which requires all WWC’s recommendations, especially sion (EHRC) and the Low Pay Com-
Companies covered by the public authorities to demonstrate as the gender pay gap remains almost mission to look into the gender pay
working rule agreement (WRA) that they are promoting sex equality as wide as it was a decade ago. gap among apprentices.
drawn up by the Construction – to the private sector, unless there Official statistics indicate that Another issue of concern is the
Industry Joint Council (CIJC) is faster progress on narrowing the full-time female workers earned “dearth of quality part-time jobs”,
normally give workers a four-day pay gap between the sexes. 17.2% less than their male counter- with the government urged to in-
Easter break from Good Friday to The recommendations came this parts in 2007 – only slightly down crease spending on measures to
Easter Monday. But because the month in the House of Commons from the 20.7% in 1997. And the gap tackle the problem.
Easter weekend is unusually early Business and Enterprise Select Com- between male full-timers and female MP Judy Mallaber, who led the
this year, it does not coincide mittee’s report Jobs for the girls: two part-timers is a massive 35.6%. inquiry, spoke of the need for “a
with the spring school holiday – years on. In 2005, the government’s According to the MPs, there are determined effort on all fronts ... to
which could cause problems for Women and Work Commission (WWC) not enough training opportunities crack the worryingly stubborn pay gap
workers with school-age children. recommended 40 measures to tackle for women in non-traditional occu- and inequality in employment”.
“Construction workers with job segregation and the gender pay pations – and, until recently, little For Katherine Rake, director of
families often have difficulty in gap, and the committee has spent advice was available to older women equality campaign group the Fawcett
arranging childcare during school recent months investigating the who wanted to change work direction Society, the report “adds to the pres-
holidays,” said UCATT general progress that has been made. or return to work after a break. sure on government to adopt more
secretary Alan Ritchie, who is Its report notes that the pay gap While praising the government’s radical measures on equal pay.”
also secretary of the operative “is hard to eliminate, because men proposed “substantial extension” in Jobs for the girls: two years on
side of the CIJC. “This will cause and women tend to work in different apprenticeships, the report warns is available at www.publications.
additional problems and could occupations, and traditional female that these “must not just follow parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/
affect their performance.” occupations tend to be lower paid traditional occupational break- cmselect/cmberr/291/291.pdf
Now the CJIC is urging
and make use of the leeway

IiP training award leaves

already provided in the WRA. “It
shall be open to employers and
operatives to agree that all or

minorities disadvantaged
some of the winter holiday and/or
the Easter (spring) holiday will be
taken on alternative dates,” the
agreement says.
As far as CIJC employers’ side A TRAINING award from Investors in ties criteria in order to qualify. disadvantage may be a result of IiP’s
secretary Gerry Lean is concerned, People (IiP), the body that manages Based on the government’s multiple demands on employers.
a flexible stance by employers standards for employee develop- Workplace Employment Relations “Although IiP requires organisa-
“could be of benefit to both the ment, is meant to be an indication Survey 2004, the study of almost tions to uphold equal opportunities
company and their workforce”. of good practice – but a new study 15,000 people also found no evi- principles, it also requires them to
Construction workers are has revealed that employers with the dence that IiP accreditation improves gear their training provision to busi-
being urged to “speak to their award seem more likely to discrimi- training levels for many of these ness need,” he explained. “In or-
employer at the earliest possible nate against minority groups. groups or boosts training levels for ganisations where business need is
opportunity” if they want their Researchers from Nottingham “routine unskilled” workers. narrowly defined, developmental
Easter holiday dates to be varied. University Business School found Much of the government’s skills opportunities come to be targeted
that women, staff on temporary or strategy is based on increasing the on core value-creating professionals
fixed-term contracts, disabled and proportion of the UK workforce and managers, rather than the
New LRD booklet! older workers and those from ethnic qualified to NVQ Level 2, but the workforce as a whole.”
Equality and health minorities were all at more of a dis- latter finding suggests that IiP “may Hoque added that the findings
and safety advantage in terms of training if their be contributing little if anything to appear to vindicate the government’s
For more information or to employer was IiP-accredited – even the achievement of this target”. decision last year not to award IiP £1
order, call 020 7928 3649 though employers are supposed to According to Professor Kim Hoque, million to promote equality and di-
have met certain equal opportuni- who led the research, the pattern of versity best practice.

6 Workplace Report February 2008


Apprenticeship strategy Sustainability

is theme of
doesn’t tackle pay issues learning day
THE government has set out its released last month. Ready to work, mum Wage (NMW). And although the THE Campaign for Learning (CfL)
strategy for making apprenticeships skilled for work: unlocking Britain’s Learning and Skills Council (LSC) has announced that “sustainable
a “mainstream option for 16- to 18- talent, published by the DIUS and introduced a minimum payment of workplaces” will be the theme of
year-olds” alongside other educa- the Department for Work and Pen- £80 a week in 2005, this has not National Learning at Work Day
tion and training routes – and for sions, is aimed at helping employers changed since then. 2008 on Thursday 22 May.
ensuring that an apprenticeship to “recruit job-ready individuals and The TUC wants the LSC minimum Organised by CfL as part of
place is available to every qualified raise the skills base of their staff” to be increased to £110, broadly in Adult Learners’ Week (17–23
young person by 2013. through initiatives such as officially line with the minimum wage youth May), the day – which aims to
Last month the Department for accrediting employers’ training rate of £3.40, in order to boost ap- promote and support workplace
Innovation, Universities and Skills qualifications and setting up “Local prenticeship completion rates. learning events across England,
(DIUS) published World-class ap- Employment Partnerships” with While the current completion rate of and is supported by many unions
prenticeships: unlocking talent, Jobcentre Plus offices. 63% is a massive improvement on the – will have an emphasis this year
building skills for all – a report which Both reports were broadly wel- 2001 figure of just 24%, the govern- on the environment, work/life
outlines measures such as consist- comed by TUC general secretary ment is aiming for at least 70%. balance and learning through life.
ent national “branding” of appren- Brendan Barber, but with one major The prime minister has an- A dedicated area has been set
ticeships, the establishment of a caveat. “It’s disappointing that the nounced that the Low Pay Commis- up on the CfL website for union
National Apprenticeship Service and government has delayed addressing sion is to look at the issue of NMW learning reps wanting to get
better integration of apprenticeships a key problem with apprenticeships, exemptions for apprentices, but this involved in Learning at Work Day.
with other education programmes. that of poor pay”, he said. is unlikely to lead to any changes Resources including action plans,
To increase provision, the DIUS The TUC published its own inves- before October 2009. The TUC wants tailored materials and case
has decided that employers will be tigation into Decent pay for appren- the LSC to set a £110 minimum from studies designed to help reps run
able to submit their own apprentice- tices last month, revealing that some August 2008, and to establish an a successful event can be
ship frameworks for public funding apprentices are paid as little as effective enforcement regime for obtained by visiting www.
– and may also qualify for new incen- £1.54 per hour. Low pay was found apprentice pay. campaign-for-learning.org.uk/cfl/
tive payments. Extra funding will be to be most common among female World-class apprenticeships and workplacelearning/lawday/index.
available for courses offered to over- apprentices, who on average are Ready to work, skilled for work can asp and clicking on “Take part”.
25s, and there will be “support for paid 26% less than men; those in both be downloaded from www.dius. The website also contains
more employer ownership of ap- hairdressing, early years education gov.uk/publications.html details of a series of half-day
prenticeships”. and social care are the worst paid. Decent pay for apprentices is events being held around the
Apprenticeships also feature By law, most apprentices do not available at www.tuc.org.uk/extras/ country for anyone involved in
heavily in another government report have to be paid the National Mini- apprenticepay.pdf planning a learning activity.


Midlands get new learning centres

TWENTY new union-run workplace workplaces facing multiple redun- the AWM board, the scheme is based places for workers seeking “skills for
learning centres are set to be estab- dancies are among the proposed on employers’ and employees’ life” qualifications and NVQs to
lished across the West Midlands as new facilities, which are expected to preference for “facilities to be as Level Two, as well as 400 places for
part of the national “Train to gain” benefit 1,400 workers. close as possible to their workplace, Level Three and Four management
skills programme. Much of the funding will be spent to provide them with the flexibility and leadership studies.
Discussions with employers in on the refurbishment and equipping they need to fit in with their busy
Birmingham and Stoke-on-Trent are of existing premises – a process that schedules”. f The TUC and the Workers’ Educa-
said to be “at an advanced stage”, is expected to be completed in time He added that the innovative and tion Association (WEA) have opened
with the regional development agen- for the scheme to be launched in “user-friendly” project – the result a new education centre in the heart
cy Advantage West Midlands (AWM) April. Employers will be expected to of a “unique partnership” between of the City of London.
investing £458,000 as part of a contribute to the project by providing unions, employers and funding Located near Liverpool Street
public- and private-sector package rooms or paying for broadband in- agencies – would encourage local Station, the centre will offer courses
worth £1.85 million in total. stallation, for example. businesses to “be more competitive for union reps and members across
A learning room at Birmingham According to Gerard Coyne, the by improving skills and therefore the capital and beyond.
New Street Station and a mobile regional secretary of general union stimulating the regional economy”. For more information on WEA
learning centre for rural areas and Unite and union representative on The scheme will offer 1,000 courses, visit www.wea.org.uk

February 2008 Workplace Report 7


Pilots are on
course to beat
Steely determination pays
inflation off for Italy’s metalworkers
GERMAN airline Lufthansa’s 4,400 AFTER nine months of negotiations, The €127 consolidated monthly porary contracts, and non-Italian
pilots have agreed a two-stage a pay deal covering Italy’s 1.6 million increase for the reference grade is workers will be able to add holidays
deal worth 5.5% over 18 months. metalworkers until the end of 2009 larger than the €117 a month de- to other contractually agreed periods
Signed on 29 January and has finally been reached. The draft manded by the industry’s unions, of of time off so that they can take leave
running until 31 March 2009, the settlement was signed on 20 January which FIOM-CGIL is the largest. in their countries of origin.
settlement begins with a 2.5% pay 2008, six months after the previous However, this pay rise is spread over Signed nine days after an eight-
rise backdated to October 2007, agreement expired. 30 months – from July 2007 until hour nationwide strike by metal-
to be followed by a 3.0% increase Workers on the reference grade December 2009 – rather than the 24 workers, the agreement has been
backdated to last month. in the middle of the pay scale will months that they had envisaged. welcomed by the unions – albeit
This increase is well above the see their monthly salary increase by Furthermore, the unions have with some reservations. For FIOM-
German inflation rate, which in a total of €127 a month over the been forced to concede an addi- CGIL general secretary Gianni
January was 2.7%. It is also higher duration of the three-stage deal – by tional obligatory day’s Saturday Rinaldini, it “presents important and
than most pay rises agreed in €60 from January 2008, a further working per year, where this is de- significant aspects, even though
2007, which the union-linked €37 in January 2009 and €30 in manded by the employer. The there are some elements of con-
research institute WSI estimates September 2009. Those at the bot- number of Saturdays that employees cern”. He focused on the fact that
to have averaged 2.2%. tom of the pay scale will receive a can be forced to work (with pay at the unions had at least been able to
Lufthansa director Stefan Lauer total increase of €79.38 a month, overtime rates) has been increased resist efforts by the employers to get
said the deal “was within while workers at the top of the scale from four to five in workplaces with rid of the agreement completely.
acceptable margins” given the get €166.69. more than 200 employees, and from Massimo Calearo, president of
company’s good results and “our All workers, regardless of their five to six in smaller organisations. the Federmeccanica employers’ as-
employees’ team performance”. grade, will receive an additional The settlement also provides an sociation, said the agreement
Meanwhile, both the executive one-off cash payment of €300 next extra day’s holiday for employees “looked forward in the interest of the
and the negotiating committee of month to take account of the six aged 55-plus who have at least 10 country and the employees”, but
Germany’s GDL rail union have months without an agreement. years’ service. And it makes changes added: “There is much more to do if
formally approved the proposed Under Italy’s two-tier system of to metalworkers’ employment con- companies facing competition are to
deal for drivers at train company bargaining, most metalworkers also tracts in areas such as probation and be competitive.”
Deutsche Bahn (see last month’s benefit from negotiations at com- service-related benefits, introducing Union members in the industry
Workplace Report). The agreement pany level. To compensate workers a “single status” for manual and will vote on the agreement later this
– involving an 8.0% increase in – typically those in smaller compa- non-manual employees from 1 Janu- month, with the main unions involved
March, another 3.0% in September nies – who lack this additional level ary 2009. all recommending acceptance.
and an €800 one-off payment – of bargaining, the industry deal in- There will be a 44-month limit on
must now be endorsed by the creases their pay by an extra €20 a the total length of time that an indi- f The euro was worth 75p on 15
union’s members. month, starting from last month. vidual can work on successive tem- February.


Dutch cleaners attain ¤10 target

UNIONS representing cleaners in the the rate for those with eight years’ Signatories to the agreement on Dutch unions have also reached
Netherlands have reached an agree- service increasing to €10.30. 29 January included FNV Bondgen- a 24-month deal with employers in
ment with the largest employers’ Cleaners with less than a year’s oten, the largest union in the indus- the hotel and catering industry. The
association in the industry, setting service will move onto a minimum try with 13,650 members – around settlement, which both sides have
a new minimum wage of €10 an hour rate of €8.50 from 1 April, and will 10% of the workforce. Having spent asked to be made “generally bind-
from 1 April. gain the right to paid training for the the past five years campaigning for ing” on all the industry’s employees,
This guaranteed hourly rate will first time. And with unions estimat- a minimum wage of €10 an hour, the provides for an above-inflation in-
initially apply only to cleaners with ing that 90% of the Netherlands’ union describes the settlement as crease of 3.25% from 1 July 2008 and
eight years’ service; those with at 150,000 cleaners are migrants, they “excellent”. “When we first called for a further 1.5% 12 months later. In
least one year’s service will be guar- have negotiated the inclusion of €10, we were laughed at by both our addition, all employees will receive
anteed €9.70 an hour. But from 1 provisions giving employees the friends and our enemies”, recalled a one-off payment worth 1.25% on
January 2009, all cleaners with at right to attend courses in work time negotiator Ron Meyer, who also 31 December 2009.
least a year’s service will be paid a on Dutch language skills and gaining hailed the “groundbreaking” inclu- As of last month, inflation in the
minumum of €10.00 an hour, with Dutch citizenship. sion of citizenship courses. Netherlands was running at 2.0%.

8 Workplace Report February 2008


Discrimination Discrimination law –

The key developments
case law f For an employee to be regarded as no longer being in the “same
job” for equal pay purposes, there must be a clear agreement that
she has ended one job and replaced it with another (case 1).
This month’s round-up includes rulings on the size of f An employee was not discriminated against after making a claim
compensatory awards and the types of behaviour of racial harassment, as the employer would have treated anyone
else who had made such a complaint in the same way (case 2).
that amount – or do not amount – to victimisation. f To prove victimisation, a claimant must prove that there was less
favourable treatment as a result of his/her protected act (case 3).
f The dismissal of a university academic who represented a student
Equal pay in his race discrimination claim against the university did not amount
to victimisation, because the reason for the dismissal was the conflict
Case 1: The facts The ruling of interest that the representation involved (case 4).
A large group of care, cleaning and Simply providing a document which f A claim of race discrimination against the Labour Party should
catering workers, almost all of whom describes itself as a new contract is have been brought under section 25 of the Race Relations Act, which
were women, brought equal pay not enough to establish that one deals with discrimination by associations – and claims under section
claims against a local council. The contract has ended and another 25 must be brought in a county court (case 5).
council identified around 1,500 begun, the Employment Appeal Tri- f An employer was not required under equal pay law to pay a shift
whose claims, it said, were out of bunal (EAT) said – changes to the bonus to staff who did not work the qualifying hours (case 6).
time – although most had continu- contract have to be agreed. If a f When deciding whether a condition is likely to recur, an tribunal
ous service with the council, they contract is changed but not in a can only take account of what the employer knew at the time of the
had changed jobs since the period fundamental way, this will merely be alleged discrimination (case 7).
when they were underpaid. a variation of the existing contract f A second occurrence of a dislocated kneecap was evidence of an
An equal pay claim must be – unless the tribunal is satisfied that impairment that was likely to recur (case 8).
brought within six months of the end there was an express agreement to f A tribunal cannot decide whether there was a failure to make
of the contract to which it relates. end one contract and replace it with adjustments until it has identified the discriminatory provision,
The issue was whether changes to another. But if there is a signed criterion, practice or physical feature of the premises – and identified
the claimants’ jobs had been varia- contract which describes itself as a the nature and extent of its disadvantage to the worker (case 9).
tions of the same contract or the new contract, this is conclusive evi- f A police authority was entitled to dismiss a probationary constable
replacement of one contract with dence that the parties agreed to a whose disability prevented her from carrying out part of her core
another; if it were the former, the termination of the initial contract. duties (case 10).
claims would be in time because it Cumbria County Council v Dow & f There was no disability discrimination in a situation where an
was the “same employment”; if the others UKEAT/0148/06 & others employer had made what adjustments were reasonable (case 11).
latter, they would be out of time. ([2009] IRLR 109) f An employer does not have a specific duty to obtain a medical report
in order to fulfil its duty to make reasonable adjustments (case 12).
f Where a tribunal makes separate findings of race discrimination
Race discrimination and disability discrimination, compensation should be assessed
separately (case 13).
Case 2: The facts false allegations – a charge that was f There are no hard and fast rules about whether separate awards
Mr Ukachukwu was involved in an dropped after further investigation. should be made for injury to feelings and for psychiatric damage
incident with a colleague at work, Following his suspension, Uka- resulting from discrimination (case 14).
after which he alleged that the col- chukwu went on sick leave with f An employer’s refusal to allow part-time working amounted to sex
league had made racially offensive work-related stress and did not re- discrimination, and the employee’s resulting resignation was a
comments. None of the witnesses to turn; he was dismissed six months constructive dismissal (case 15).
the incident supported this version later for incapability on grounds of f If a claimant in a part-time pensions claim did not join his/her
of events, and Ukachukwu’s em- ill health. employer’s pension scheme once s/he became eligible, the tribunal
ployer suspended him for making A tribunal upheld Ukachukwu’s must investigate the reasons why (case 16).
claims of race discrimination and f A belief must be a religious or philosophical viewpoint that the
unfair dismissal. claimant actually believes, not merely an opinion based on real or
Case details for the EAT are perceived logic or information (case 17).
available at www. The ruling f An artist was not entitled to bring a claim under the religion or
employmentappeals.gov.uk. The EAT overturned the finding of belief regulations for a gallery’s refusal of a proposal, as there was no
Decisions of other courts, as race discrimination, as the tribunal employment to offer (case 18).
well as some EAT judgments, had not compared Ukachukwu’s
are at www.bailli.org treatment with an appropriate com-
IRLR is the subscription- parator (hypothetical or otherwise). chukwu had not been discriminated cause his employer had failed to get
based journal Industrial The EAT was satisfied that the em- against. an up-to-date medical report was
Relations Law Reports – call ployer would have treated anyone However, the EAT added, the permissible and would stand.
020 8686 9141 for details. else who had made such a complaint tribunal’s ruling that Ukachukwu Centrewest London Buses Ltd v
in the same way, and held that Uka- had been unfairly dismissed be- Ukachukwu UKEAT/0318/07

February 2008 Workplace Report 9


Victimisation Genuine material factor

Case 3: The facts ble reason for the treatment which Case 6: The facts The ruling
When Mrs Munu faced the threat of was not discriminatory: the employer Police officers Susan Blackburn and The EAT held that there had not been
redundancy as part of a restructuring had not ignored her comments, but Victoria Manley brought equal pay any discrimination, as there is no
programme, she complained that its policy was not to slot staff into claims after their police force intro- requirement for an employer to
she was the only Afro-Caribbean higher-grade posts; she had only duced a bonus scheme for officers compensate for the economic disad-
member of staff at risk. She later been asked to restrict her job-hunting who worked at least four hours at vantage of those with childcare re-
brought a number of claims, includ- to quiet times; the files left on her night. Neither Blackburn nor Manley sponsibilities.
ing for victimisation; after she had desk and chair had been for shred- worked these hours because of child- The payment of the bonus was to
raised her complaint, she said, her ding, which was part of her duties; care responsibilities; they claimed reward those who worked night
employer had ignored her comments and the person who had decided not that the system disadvantaged more shifts; having found that this was a
regarding redeployment, had told to offer her the alternative posts had women than men, and was therefore legitimate aim and was not related
her to stop spending time looking for not known of her complaint. indirectly discriminatory. to any discrimination based on sex,
another job, had left files on her The EAT also confirmed that the A tribunal upheld their claims. the EAT said, the tribunal should
desk and chair, and had not ap- burden of proof in victimisation Although the payment of the shift have gone on to conclude that it was
pointed her to other posts. claims, unlike those involving other bonus was for a legitimate aim, it justified.
forms of discrimination, does not said, the force could have removed Chief Constable of West Midlands
The ruling transfer to the respondent; it is up its discriminatory effect by also pay- Police v Blackburn & Manley
The EAT upheld the tribunal’s deci- to the claimant to prove that there ing it to those who were unable to UKEAT/0007/07
sion that there had been no victimi- was less favourable treatment as a work those hours.
sation. For each of her allegations, result of a protected act.
it found either that there was no less Munu v Great Ormond Street
favourable treatment, or that the
employer had a clear and permissi-
Hospital NHS Trust & others
Definition of disability
Case 7: The facts bunal hearing. The Court of Appeal
Elizabeth McDougall, who has a was asked to rule on whether this
Case 4: The facts Fosh claimed that her dismissal
“schizo-affective disorder”, was of- could be taken into account.
Professor Fosh gave evidence in a was unfair and amounted to vic-
fered a job as a database assistant
race discrimination claim brought by timisation under the RRA.
– but the offer was withdrawn fol- The ruling
one of the PhD students under her
lowing receipt of a medical report. Resolving conflicting decisions of the
supervision. Her employer later The ruling
She brought a claim of disability EAT, the court held that an employer
discovered that Fosh was represent- The EAT upheld the tribunal’s deci-
discrimination. can only be responsible for answer-
ing the student as well as giving sion that Fosh’s dismissal was not
If a condition has lasted for less ing allegations based on evidence
evidence; it said it did not object to unfair and did not amount to vic-
than 12 months but is likely to recur that was available at the time –
her giving evidence, but asked her timisation. She was dismissed, it
more than 12 months after its first meaning that a tribunal cannot take
to stop representing him as this was held, not because she was repre-
incidence, it is regarded as a “long- account of subsequent events.
a conflict of interest. She refused senting a student in race discrimina-
term” condition for the purpose of At the time of the job offer and
and was suspended, after which the tion proceedings but because of the
defining a disability under the Dis- its withdrawal, there was no evi-
employer conducted a search of her conflict of interest that this caused.
ability Discrimination Act. dence that the adverse effects of
emails; this led to further charges, Fosh v Cardiff University
Although McDougall’s disorder McDougall’s condition were likely to
resulting in her dismissal. UKEAT/0412/07
is long-standing and may be lifelong, recur; at that time, therefore, she
at the time that the job offer was was not a disabled person and so
withdrawn its effects were limited to could not bring her claim.
Jurisdiction an eight-month episode a few years
previously. However, her symptoms
Richmond Adult Community
College v McDougall [2008] EWCA
Case 5: The facts body”; the issue of whether this had recurred by the time of her tri- Civ 4
Raghib Ahsan was a Labour council- section applied to his case went to
lor. Following allegations of vote-fix- the House of Lords.
ing and housing irregularities in his Case 8: The facts The ruling
council ward, none of which was ever The ruling Mrs Scott dislocated her kneecap in The EAT upheld the tribunal’s deci-
verified, he was not re-selected. He The House of Lords held that Ahsan 2002. She dislocated it again in sion that Scott did have a disability.
claimed that his non-selection should have brought his claim under 2005, at which time she was under Although she had recovered from the
amounted to race discrimination, section 25 of the RRA, which deals review because of her level of ab- initial dislocation in 2002, the tribu-
but the Labour Party said the reason with discrimination by associations sence from work; she had been set nal had identified her impairment
for his non-selection was related to against members or prospective a target of one day’s absence in the as instability of her kneecap. As she
his “old Labour” political views. It members; such claims must be following six months. After taking a had already dislocated it twice, a
pointed out that Asian candidates brought in a county court, not an month off to recover from the knee tribunal was entitled to hold that the
were re-selected in other wards. employment tribunal. However, as injury, she was dismissed. effects of the impairment were
Ahsan won his tribunal claim the tribunal had ruled that it was Scott brought a claim of disabil- likely to recur and therefore should
under section 12 of the Race Rela- entitled to hear the claim, the par- ity discrimination, and the issue on be treated as long-term.
tions Act (RRA), on the grounds that ties were bound by its decision. appeal was whether she had a dis- British Gas Trading Ltd v Scott
the Labour Party was a “qualifying Watt v Ahsan [2007] UKHL 51 ability. UKEAT/0322/07

10 Workplace Report February 2008


Duty to make adjustments Discrimination law –

Case 9: The facts
Clerk/typist Mrs Rowan had an ac-
The ruling
In a claim relating to a failure to
The basic legal rules
cident which left her unable to sit for make reasonable adjustments, the It is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sex, race, disability,
long periods of time and requiring a EAT said, a tribunal must first iden- trade union membership, transsexuality, religion or belief, or sexual
lot of bed rest. She asked her em- tify the provision, criterion or prac- orientation.
ployer to allow her to work from tice applied by the employer – or the Four forms of discrimination are banned. Direct discrimination
home as a reasonable adjustment, physical feature of the premises – occurs if a person is treated less favourably. Indirect discrimination is
but her request was refused. that put the worker at a disadvan- where the treatment is no different but where the application of a
Rowan resigned after becoming tage; it must also establish the na- “requirement or condition” or a “provision, criterion or practice” has
aware of the contents of a recorded ture and extent of that disadvantage. a detrimental impact. Victimisation of someone because they have
telephone conversation (described Only when this has been done can raised or provided evidence in a discrimination claim is also unlawful,
by the tribunal as “absolutely shock- the tr tribunal make an assessment as is any form of harassment on one of the unlawful grounds.
ing”) in which her manager and the of what adjustments were reasona- If an employee brings a discrimination claim, the law says that:
occupational health doctor sug- ble and whether the employer failed f the employer should complete a questionnaire giving responses to
gested that she did not wish to re- to make them. the allegations of discrimination, if requested by the claimant;
turn to work. Rowan claimed con- As the tribunal had not done f discrimination can be inferred from the employer’s practices and
structive dismissal and disability this, its finding of disability dis- procedures where there is no direct evidence;
discrimination, both of which were crimination could not stand. The case f compensation for discrimination is unlimited and includes
upheld by the tribunal; her em- was referred to a fresh tribunal. compensation for injury to feelings, as well as aggravated damages
ployer appealed against the disabil- The Environment Agency v Rowan where the employer’s conduct was particularly poor; and
ity discrimination decision. UKEAT/0060/07 ([2008] IRLR 20) f a claim can be brought against a former employer who
discriminated against or otherwise victimised an individual.
For the purposes of equality legislation, a disability is defined as
Case 10: The facts Case 11: The facts an impairment that lasts at least a year and has a substantial adverse
Ms Hart was a probationary police A year into his employment with effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
constable whose probation period Royal Mail, Mr Khan developed It is illegal for an employer to treat disabled people less
was intended to last for two years; asthma. His GP said his condition favourably; this includes refusing for a disability-related reason to
however, it was extended a number was caused by dust from one of the hire or promote them. If an employer’s premises and/or any
of times. As a result of two road ac- vents in the sorting office, and rec- “provision, criterion or practice” applied by the employer place a
cidents, she was unable to carry out ommended that he be found work disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared with
tasks that carried a real risk of con- elsewhere. Royal Mail offered Khan someone who is not disabled, the employer has a legal duty to make
frontation – but these were part of a alternative work, which he refused, reasonable adjustments to prevent that disadvantage.
constable’s core duties, meaning before dismissing him after 18
that she was unable to complete her months’ sickness absence.
probation. Khan brought claims of disabil- Case 12: The facts some or all of her duties to another
Hart was offered a staff post ity discrimination and unfair dis- Mrs Price-Job suffered from the de- person and should have arranged its
which she rejected; she was then missal, both of which were dis- generative condition lupus, and had own medical assessment. The em-
dismissed. She argued that the po- missed by a tribunal. He appealed, pain in her back, neck and shoulder. ployer appealed these two decisions,
lice authority should have made the arguing that his employer had failed Following a number of episodes of as well as the ruling that Price-Job’s
“reasonable adjustment” of con- to make reasonable adjustments. sickness, she was dismissed; her dismissal had not been justified.
firming her employment, even employer said this was because of
though she was unable to meet the The ruling the time-limited nature of the project The ruling
required standards. The EAT held that there had been no she was working on and the high The EAT held that there was no obli-
failure in the duty to make reason- risks associated with its delivery. gation on the employer to provide a
The ruling able adjustments. The tribunal had A tribunal found that – by failing medical assessment. The employ-
The EAT held that the police author- concluded that Royal Mail had taken to provide a suitable chair and other er’s duty is to make adjustments to
ity had been entitled to dismiss Hart, steps – such as moving Khan’s work equipment within a reasonable time, prevent a substantial disadvantage,
as she was unable to carry out part station away from the vent – that and by failing to visit her at home to it said; a medical report may iden-
of her duties; expecting it to dilute were reasonable in the circum- discuss her employment – the em- tify adjustments that could be made,
the standards required was not a stances, and had found that there ployer had failed in its duty to make but an assessment is not itself an
reasonable adjustment. was no obligation to create a job reasonable adjustments. These de- adjustment. This part of the tribu-
A major factor in the EAT’s deci- which did not already exist. cisions were not appealed. nal’s decision was overturned.
sion was the fact that the authority Khan v Royal Mail Group plc But the tribunal also said the Furthermore, the EAT held that
was responsible for assessing a UKEAT/0480/06 employer should have allocated the tribunal had not properly consid-
standard of competence against ered the the allocation of Price-Job’s
national criteria which allowed duties. The case was sent back for
constables to be transferred to other Every month Workplace Report rounds up the latest case law in key the tribunal to reconsider this mat-
police forces. areas of employment legislation. Apart from this month’s topics, ter, as well as the question of wheth-
Hart v Chief Constable of the other main subject areas appearing regularly are dismissal, er the dismissal was justified.
Derbyshire Constabulary redundancy, TUPE transfers, contracts and tribunal procedures. London Borough of Camden v
UKEAT/0403/07 Price-Job UKEAT/0507/06

February 2008 Workplace Report 11


Injury to feelings awards Part-timers’ pension rights

Case 13: The facts The ruling Case 16: The facts mation Bulletin No 9, a claim will not
Mr Jumard brought claims of race The EAT upheld Jumard’s appeal. The exclusion of part-time workers usually succeed if the claimant did
and disability discrimination and Where different forms of discrimina- from pension schemes was found to not join the pension scheme when
unfair dismissal. As well as uphold- tion arise out of the same facts, it be discriminatory by the European the eligibility rules changed. But
ing his unfair dismissal claim, a tri- said, a single award for injury to Court of Justice in the case of Preston there is an exception if the claimant
bunal found that his employer had feelings is justified; but where there v Wolverhampton NHS and others can satisfy the tribunal that s/he
treated him less favourably on are specific acts which fall into one [2000] IRLR 506; this resulted in a would have joined the scheme ear-
grounds of both race and disability, category but not the other, they large number of claims, for which the lier had s/he been eligible; this is to
and had failed to make reasonable should be separately assessed. Employment Tribunal Service (ETS) allow for special cases where the
adjustments. It awarded a total of However, a tribunal must still look issued guidance bulletins. claimant had already taken out a
£116,547, which included an injury to at the total figure to ensure it is Mr Pepper brought a claim for private pension plan or was so near
feelings award for “racial and disa- proportionate overall. retrospective membership of the retirement that it was pointless to
bility discrimination” of £13,000. Jumard’s case was sent back to Teachers Pension Scheme, from join the scheme.
Jumard appealed the size of the the tribunal for the compensation which he had been excluded because The EAT held that the tribunal
award, arguing that the tribunal award to be reconsidered. of his part-time status. A tribunal should have heard Mr Pepper’s evi-
should have considered the disability Jumard v Clywd Leisure Ltd & upheld his claim for the years 1987 dence on this point. His case was
and race discrimination separately. others UKEAT/0334/07 to 1995 but not from 1995 to 2000, a sent back to the tribunal to decide
period when he had been entitled to why he had not joined the scheme
join but had not done so. and whether he had suffered a detri-
Case 14: The facts The ruling ment as a result.
After Hugh Martins attempted to run The Court of Appeal said there The ruling Pepper v Lancashire CC & others
him off the road, Mohammed Choud- should be no hard and fast rule In accordance with the ETS’s Infor- UKEAT/0404/07
hary brought a claim under the about whether separate awards
Protection from Harassment Act , should be made. In some cases
which also included a claim for race
discrimination. A court found that
where the psychiatric harm is “very
modest” and merges with injury to Religion or belief
the incident had been premeditated feelings, it said, one award may be Case 17: The facts The ruling
and intentional, and that Martins appropriate; but where harm is more Justice of the peace Mr McClintock, The EAT noted that, when he brought
had previously made a number of substantial, as in Mr Choudhary’s who was a judge on the Family his claim, McClintock did not say
racially offensive remarks to and case, it is helpful to have separate Panel, asked to be relieved of any that agreeing to place children with
about Choudhary. awards as this make the judge’s cases that could result in children same-sex couples was incompatible
Choudhary was awarded £12,500 thought processes clearer. being placed with same-sex couples; with his religious beliefs as a practis-
for personal injury and £10,000 for The court held that both the such adoptions were a “social ex- ing Christian. It added that a belief
injury to feelings for harassment. £12,500 personal injury award and periment” that had not been suffi- must be a religious or philosophical
The issues on appeal were whether the £10,000 injury to feelings award ciently researched, he said. viewpoint that the claimant actually
the court was right to make separate were within the range of permissible When his request was refused, believes, not an opinion based on
awards for personal injury and in- awards. McClintock resigned from the family real or perceived logic or information
jury to feelings, and whether those Martins v Choudhary [2007] EWCA panel and brought a claim of indirect – as McClintock had not shown this
awards were too large. Civ 1379 religious discrimination, arguing to be the case, the tribunal had been
that the Department of Constitu- justified in rejecting his claim.
tional Affairs had forced him to re- McClintock v Department of
Refusal of part-time working sign by refusing to accommodate his
Constitutional Affairs
UKEAT/0223/07 ([2008] IRLR 29)
Case 15: The facts her flexible working request. As an
Mrs Shaw wrote to her employer employer is entitled to refuse such
while she was on maternity leave, a request, the tribunal reasoned, Case 18: The facts The ruling
asking to return to work on a part- this was not a breach of contract. Artist Anthony Padgett submitted a The EAT held that Padgett did not
time rather than a full-time basis. proposal to the Tate Modern art gal- meet any of the criteria for bringing
Her employer asked her to complete The ruling lery for a performance around a a claim under the Employment
a “request for flexible working” The EAT upheld Shaw’s constructive half-size reconstruction, made of Equality (Religion or Belief) Regula-
form, which she did. It then refused dismissal claim. It pointed out that sugar clubes, of the Tate Memorial tions 2003, as he was not respond-
her request and Shaw resigned, it was the employer that had de- in Norwood Cemetery. ing to any “offer” of work by the Tate
claiming sex discrimination and scribed Shaw’s request to work When his proposal was declined, or applying to the gallery to carry out
constructive dismissal. part-time as a “flexible working re- Padgett brought a claim of discrimi- work personally; there was nothing
A tribunal held that the employ- quest”. Since the tribunal had found nation on grounds of religion (a to indicate that the Tate had employ-
er’s refusal to allow part-time work- that the refusal amounted to sex claim which was, the EAT noted, ment to offer. Willingness to listen to
ing had amounted to both direct and discrimination, and it was clear that possibly intended as a piece of a proposal, or encouragement to put
indirect discrimination; however, it Shaw had resigned in direct re- performance art itself), arguing that forward a proposal, does not estab-
said Shaw had not been construc- sponse, this did amount to a con- the performance concerned the lish that someone has work to offer.
tively dismissed, as she had re- structive dismissal. themes of contemporary art and re- Padgett v Sir Nicholas Serota &
signed in response to the refusal of Shaw v CCL Ltd UKEAT/0512/06 ligious fundamentalism. another UKEAT/0097/07

12 Workplace Report February 2008


Construction union seeks Safer driving

A TRAINING initiative designed to
improve driving safety at delivery

urgent action on fatalities

firm Parcelforce has received the
backing of the CWU
communication workers’ union.
“Drive safely” is a confidential
WITH the death toll in the building secretary for the Wales and South additional time pressures on work- online quiz, to be completed in
industry currently running at more West. “While it is almost impossible ers – coupled with the increasingly work time, involving multiple-
than five fatalities a month, construc- to make the industry entirely safe, casualised nature of the industry choice questions on the Highway
tion union UCATT has urged employ- construction employers in general and a reduction in the number of Code. If drivers get an answer
ers to make safety a priority. could be doing far more to make safety inspections and prosecutions, wrong, the program points this
Last month a worker on a luxury sites safer.” resulting from cutbacks at the Health out to them so that they can
flats development at Swansea Ma- Construction is the most hazard- and Safety Executive. understand their mistake and
rina fell from scaffolding and later ous industry in Britain, with 77 As Workplace Report went to correct their response.
died in hospital – one of more than workers losing their lives at work in press, UCATT and the Chesterfield- In response to its members’
50 construction deaths since April the 12 months to March 2007 – a based Trade Union Safety Team were concerns, the CWU has issued a
2007, according to the union. 30% increase on the previous year. planning an accident simulation as joint statement with Parcelforce
“This latest death underlines the UCATT blames the higher fatality part of activities leading up to the confirming that the program will
dangerous nature of construction,” rate on the recent increase in con- Midlands TUC conference later this not be used for disciplinary
said Nick Blundell, UCATT regional struction work – which has placed month. purposes or be used to remove
workers from driving duties.
Support for deaf workers

Use tax breaks to improve

THE CWU is also calling on its
safety reps to check that workplace
safety measures are installed for
workers with hearing difficulties.

minicab safety, says GMB The union points out that 15%
of the population is deaf or hard
of hearing, and many cannot hear
fire alarms or public address
THE GMB general union is planning even their own vehicles. in black cabs and buses – in every
announcements. It wants to make
to lobby the Department for Transport Branch secretary Terence Flana- licensed minicab. It points out that
sure that employers are complying
(DfT) over the poor levels of protec- gan called for “immediate action” to the introduction of such fixtures in
with the Disability Discrimination
tion given to minicab drivers. reduce the “severe risks” faced on a Sheffield has reduced the number
Act’s duty to make reasonable
Research by the union’s profes- daily basis by minicab drivers. of attacks on drivers by 72%.
adjustments for these workers.
sional drivers branch has revealed The GMB is seeking the introduc- The union also wants minicab
Reps are advised to consult
45 cases of serious assaults on driv- tion of tax incentives and other companies to train drivers in antici-
guidance from deafness charity
ers by their passengers between measures to finance the installation pating trouble and dealing with it
RNID on adjustments such as the
April and December 2007 – with nine of a closed-circuit television camera when it occurs.
Deaf Alerter – a radio-based fire
drivers losing their lives in attacks and a shield between the driver and The DfT lobby will take place on
alarm and messaging system.
which involved guns, knives and the passengers – as already exists Workers’ Memorial Day, 28 April.
For details, call/textphone
RNID on 020 7296 8229/8137 or

University puts safety first

TUC resources online
THE TUC has made some of its
Hazards at work manual available
free of charge online.
UNIONS at the University of Leeds Lecturers’ union UCU, which from the Health and Safety Executive The full paper version is still
are celebrating a new agreement to signed the partnership agreement in the past three years. available to buy, but much of it –
promote and safeguard the health this month alongside general union Roger Kline, UCU’s head of equal- 31 chapters covering hazards such
and safety of staff and students. Unite and public services union ity and employment rights, said the as asbestos, asthma, bullying,
With managers declaring that UNISON, praised the university for agreement “sets a standard on chemicals and dust, and drugs
health and safety is their highest accepting its past shortcomings and health and safety policy that is and alcohol – is now available on
priority, the university has agreed to commiting resources to achieve amongst the best, if not the best, in the health and safety section of
spend £1.4 million every year on change. About 10% of the universi- higher education”. the TUC website. For each subject
measures such as safety training, an ty’s staff say they have reported an The agreement is available at page in the section, the chapters
awareness-raising campaign and an accident at work, and Leeds has http://reporter.leeds.ac.uk/press_ can be accessed via a green box in
online risk assessment package. received two improvement notices releases/current/assets/safety.doc the top right corner of the page.

February 2008 Workplace Report 13


Manual handling warning

THE Health and Safety Executive
(HSE) has warned employers to HSE acts over firefighter
deaths in Warwickshire
follow the Manual Handling
Operations Regulations, after
prosecuting a company over an
incident in which a worker was
injured by a 50kg sack of rice THE Health and Safety Executive (HSE) concerns” about firefighter safety ments to gather and take action in
falling onto the back of his neck. has strongly criticised Warwickshire had been ignored by the authority, response to information about spe-
An investigation into the Fire and Rescue Authority over the which has a legal duty to meet the cial risks which may be present at
accident at East End Foods found information it gives its firefighters requirements of the Health and premises where firefighters may
that large consignments of the about the special risks they may face Safety at Work etc Act and the Man- have to deal with emergencies”. As
sacks were routinely offloaded at certain premises. agement of Health and Safety at part of these arrangements, it must
manually from containers, without Last month the HSE served the Work Regulations 1999. compile an action plan for the in-
the use of any mechanical aids. To authority with an improvement no- Alan Craddock, HSE head of op- spection of premises and the iden-
lift the sacks, workers were raised tice as part of its investigation into erations in the Midlands, said the tification of risks.
and lowered on a pallet placed on a warehouse fire at Atherstone-on- investigation had revealed evidence “The brave men and women in
the forks of a forklift truck. Stour in November 2006. Four fire- that the authority’s current arrange- the emergency services deserve to
The company, which had not fighters lost their lives when the ments “do not comply with the have the right equipment, the right
carried out a risk assessment for building partially collapsed. statutory duties to provide its fire- training, and information whilst
the activity, was fined £25,000 Matt Wrack, general secretary of fighters with all the information they fulfilling their pledge to protect the
plus £28,000 costs last month. the FBU firefighters’ union, wel- should have to assist them in mak- public,” said Craddock.
comed the improvement notice but ing the appropriate decisions when Warwickshire police are carrying
RSI research said: “It is a tragedy that four more attending a fire”. out their own investigation into the
A NEW HSE-funded report into young firefighters have died before The improvement notice, he ex- blaze, and have commented that it
repetitive strain injury has called such a notice was served.” plained, requires the authority to is “far too early” to say whether the
for “multimodal interventions” to He added that the union’s “grave “make the appropriate arrange- authority may be prosecuted.
help sufferers return to work.
disorders and the biopsychosocial
model found that “neither
medical treatment nor ergonomic New body will balance deregulation and risk
workplace interventions alone
offer an optimal solution”. And it THE government has replaced the eral secretary Brendan Barber. “Ef- recent years, ‘Elf and Safety’ has
cited evidence that “successful Better Regulation Commission – set fective regulation is the hallmark of become a universal excuse for ban-
management strategies require up to oversee deregulation in a any civilised society that protects the ning many low-risk activities, often in
all the players to be onside and range of areas including health and weak and vulnerable against the situations where there is actually no
acting in a coordinated fashion; safety – with a new body that willl strong and powerful, but it’s also regulatory requirement at all,” said
this requires engaging employers have “a fuller and more rounded important to get the right balance HSC chair Judith Hackitt. “We have
and workers to participate”. consideration of public risk”. between risk, regulation and liber- long promoted a common-sense ap-
The report is available on the The establishment of the Risk ty,” he said. proach to risk, and look forward to
HSE website at www.hse.gov.uk/ and Regulation Advisory Council The Health and Safety Commis- working with the RRAC to identify new
research/rrhtm/rr596.htm (RRAC) was welcomed by TUC gen- sion (HSC) was similarly positive. “In ways to take this principle further.”


HSE ‘is neglecting its core mission’

A LEADING research body on occu- has been “a serious weakening of this is a particular worry “in relation workers from exposure to hazards in
pational health issues has echoed the HSE’s medical expertise, coupled to occupational diseases, such as the workplace”.
union concerns about the future of with a reduction in their resources chronic lung diseases caused by The TUC’s submission to the in-
the Health and Safety Commission for enforcement of health and safety dust and chemicals and occupa- quiry, also last month, argues that
and Executive (HSC/E). law”. As a result, it said, the HSE “is tional cancer”. the UK has been transformed “from
In its submission last month to less able to provide clear, authorita- It also questioned “whether the a world leader to a follower” on
the House of Commons Work and tive guidance, and is less able to HSE should have a headline target health and safety. This trend can best
Pensions Select Committee’s inquiry carry out effective enforcement”. for reducing sickness absence, most be reversed, it says, by improving the
into the operations and work of the The IOM expressed concern that of which is not work-related, when HSE’s resources and putting “work-
HSC/E, the Institute of Occupational the HSE “is under-resourced to meet there is still much to do within the er involvement and safety repre-
Medicine (IOM) claimed that there its core responsibilities”, noting that HSE’s core mission of protecting sentatives at the heart of its work”.

14 Workplace Report February 2008


Unions hit back to protect front-

line employees from violence
Current levels of assault and abuse inflicted on workers by members of the public are shocking, but
union action on the issue is already making progress at both legislative and workplace level.

Violence at work is an everyday threat and a staff, and have run campaigns to improve on nificant these risks are and how they can be
frequent reality for workers who come into the policy within individual NHS trusts. prevented or controlled, and develop a clear
regular contact with members of the public. A year ago this month, the CWU commu- management plan to achieve this.
Firefighters, teachers, civil servants, postal nication workers’ union persuaded Royal Mail The Safety Representatives and Safety
workers, NHS staff, shopworkers, railway to introduce a “Walk Safe!” policy aimed at Committees Regulations 1977 state that em-
station staff and bus drivers are all subjected reducing violence and assaults on postal ployees must be informed and consulted in
to verbal and physical assault by people who delivery staff. The company has agreed to good time on matters relating to their health
are angry at the quality of an often under- adopt measures including risk assessments
funded and overstretched service, or who are of workers’ routes, specialist training in sort-
simply taking out their frustrations with the
problems in their own lives.
ing offices where serious threats have been
identified, the forging of stronger links with Anti-violence checklist
For many years unions have run cam- the local police in assault “hot spots”, and UNISON’s checklist for safety reps is divided into five
paigns, negotiated with employers and the the reporting of threats as well as attacks. sections. The first of these, Recognising the problem,
government and taken industrial action to The past year has also seen the GMB asks whether the employer accepts that there is a
reduce the level of violence against workers. general union campaigning to highlight the violence problem and recognises it as a health and
One example is the high-profile “Freedom issue of attacks on workers including traffic safety issue. The employer should be acting on the
from fear” campaign launched by shopwork- wardens and minicab drivers (see page 13). guidance published by the HSE and the Health and
ers’ union USDAW in 2002. Aimed both at But while many unions have made Safety Commission, and consulting safety reps on the
improving workplace safety and promoting progress on tackling violence, there is a long application of this guidance.
respect for shopworkers, the campaign – way to go before workers are genuinely safe. The next section, Monitoring the problem, covers
which involves a variety of activities from This month, for example, the FBU firefighters’ the first steps of a risk assessment. There should be a
workplace to national level – has led to a union published the results of research by reporting form specifically for violent incidents, with all
sharp decrease in the level of attacks in the LRD which found that the number of reported employees (including agency workers and part-timers)
retail sector. However, the most recent British assaults on firefighters rose from 1,300 to made aware of it. Staff should be encouraged to report
Crime Survey showed an increase in incidents 1,500 last year – although under-reporting all violent incidents, including verbal abuse and threats.
(see Workplace Report, October 2007, page means that the total number of incidents Once the level and nature of incidents is known, the
13), prompting USDAW general secretary John could be much higher. The increase came in third stage is Deciding what to do. Safety reps should
Hannett to call for more “retailers, shopwork- spite of the improved legal protection against be consulted with a view to finding solutions, as should
ers, councils and police to work together to violence that was recently given to emer- outside experts such as security consultants, police
rid our shops and shopping areas of this gency workers following strenuous union crime prevention officers and victim support services.
criminal behaviour”. campaigns. Preventive measures are covered in the next section.
In a similar initiative, the Community They should be based on local risk assessments, with
union is currently encouraging its members Legal protection consideration given to measures such as increasing the
in betting shops across Scotland to report all All employers in the UK have a legal duty to physical security of work premises, employing properly
incidents of abuse. Last year it persuaded the protect their workers from assaults and trained and vetted security staff, ensuring that staffing
firm Betfred to retain emergency alarms in its abuse; health and safety law applies to risks levels are adequate at all times, fitting panic buttons
betting shops (see Workplace Report, May from violence just as it does to other work- (with a reliable response procedure), providing personal
2007, page 13), and Labour MP Jim McGovern place risks. attack alarms, offering sympathetic support to staff who
has recently raised the issue of attacks on The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 encounter awkward or aggressive clients, and training
betting-shop staff in Parliament and with requires employers to ensure, so far as is all staff in procedures for dealing with violence. Where
other major employers in the sector after reasonably practicable, the health, safety and appropriate, policies and procedures should be drawn
being approached by the union. welfare of their employees. The working en- up covering specific areas such as home visits, lone
A campaign by the RMT rail union on vironment should be healthy and safe, and workers and handling cash.
London Underground has led to the introduc- workers’ welfare is considered in any work Finally, the Implementing the policy section checks
tion of DNA spit-testing kits, which can be activity. Under the Act, an employer has an whether a named senior manager has responsibility for
used for prosecutions. The RMT’s success led obligation to ensure that any potential risk of the violence policy. All safety reps should be given a
to a similar initiative by the T&G section of violence is eliminated or controlled. copy of the policy, which should be regularly reviewed
the general union Unite in bus companies. To comply with the Management of Health and updated in consultation with them.
Public services union UNISON and the and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, an The checklist is set out in the UNISON publication
RCN nursing union were both involved in employer must consider the risks (including Violence at work: a guide to risk prevention, available
drawing up the Department of Health’s “zero the risk of reasonably foreseeable violence) at www.UNISON.org.uk/acrobat/13024.pdf
tolerance” policy on violence against NHS facing its staff. It must then decide how sig-

February 2008 Workplace Report 15

an emergency service or assisting an emer- through measures such as increasing staff

Surveying workers gency worker in an emergency situation.

Similar legislation, making it an offence
and other resources.
Another approach is to work with clients
The RMT’s questionnaire asked members about their to obstruct or hinder emergency workers such and problem groups who are responsible for
sex, their ethnicity and their job, and whether they had as firefighters and ambulance workers re- the attacks. LRD’s recent research for the FBU
experienced any of the following in relation to their sponding to emergency circumstances, came found that such work is being carried out by
work over the previous year: into force in February 2007 in England, Wales a number of fire authorities under the Local
f a major injury requiring medical assistance; and Northern Ireland. Intervention Fire Education (LIFE) programme,
f a minor injury requiring first aid; The Scottish Act was widened late last and is proving popular: the one-week LIFE
f being threatened with a weapon; and/or year to include doctors, nurses and midwives, course in Cleveland is booked up for 12
f threats or verbal abuse. but unions want it to go much further. months. Most firefighters interviewed by LRD
Those answering “yes” were asked about the “We have long argued that it should cover felt that these schemes were the best long-
(worst) incident – had they been working alone, was public-service workers in non-emergency term way of preventing attacks on crews, with
racial and/or sexual harassment involved, did they situations,” says UNISON Scottish organiser union reps commenting that they provide
take time off as a result of the incident, and did they Dave Watson, pointing out that a range of “positive role models” of firefighters.
report it? other workers – from social care workers to Unions have also supported public aware-
Details of the assailant(s) were sought – their sex teachers, utility workers and other NHS staff ness and education campaigns to highlight
and whether they were alone or in a group, along with such as physiotherapists – face a higher risk the consequences – for both victim and
factors that may have provoked the incident (such as a of violence from the public and clients. perpetrator – of violence against workers.
fare dispute, travel delays, alcohol/drugs and/or theft). Hospitals and railway stations now display
Finally, members were asked about managers’ Workplace policies posters threatening legal action against
attitudes – whether they took staff concerns seriously, At workplace level, unions have negotiated members of the public who attack staff. And
had a policy on workplace violence, offered support to important agreements and policies with the emergency services in Northern Ireland
victims and encouraged them to report all incidents – employers to tackle the issue of violence. A have used television, radio and vehicle ad-
and, where appropriate, how the police had dealt with workplace policy should set out: vertising to spread the message “We’re the
the incident. f a statement of intent; target, you’re the victim”.
The questionnaire is available at www.rmt.org.uk/ f a definition of the types of violence covered The risk of prosecution may also act as a
shared_asp_files/GFSR.asp?NodeID=100240 by the policy – the best policies cover all acts deterrent to attacks, which is why unions such
from verbal abuse to physical assault and as USDAW urge employers to prosecute any-
apply to all types of workers, perhaps using one who attacks a worker. “Violent offenders
and safety. Safety reps may investigate any the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defini- have to get the message that shops have a
violence-related issues, including stress from tion of violence as “any incident in which an zero-tolerance policy for violence,” says
the fear of violence, that affect the health and employee is abused, threatened or assaulted general secretary John Hannett. “Our mem-
safety of employees. in circumstances relating to their work”; bers can rest assured we will campaign for
Under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases f a summary of the law on violence at work; tougher measures, including the increased
and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations f the roles and responsibilities of both use of ASBOs and tougher sentencing, to
1995, an employer must notify the relevant managers and employees; protect them from thugs.”
enforcing authority of any accident at work f a list of the prevention, control and man-
– including any act of physical violence – that agement measures that will be adopted to Protecting workers
results in an employee’s death, major injury address the issue of violence – this should The employment of specially trained security
or incapacity for normal work lasting three include risk assessments on attacks, with the staff is another deterrent, and these person-
days or more. involvement of union safety reps; nel can also help to control and deal with
Emergency workers now have added legal f the action to be taken when an attack has violence if it occurs. Employers have a duty
protection, however. The first to benefit were taken place, including methods of investigati- to implement violence control measures, but
in Scotland, where the Emergency Workers ion and support that will be offered to the increasingly they are turning to technology to
(Scotland) Act 2005 made it a specific offence staff involved; achieve this – and among the most common
to assault, obstruct or hinder anyone providing f staff training requirements; and and controversial measures is closed-circuit
f measures for monitoring and reviewing the television (CCTV).
policy, with union involvement. While CCTV is often presented by employ-
Tackling violence at work Additionally, the policy should be cross-
referenced with those in related areas such
ers as the panacea for workplace violence,
but unions are more sceptical – particularly
– a guide for union reps as lone working.
UNISON has produced a checklist to help
given its expense and the poor quality of the
images, which means that footage is often
This LRD booklet contains practical guidance to help safety reps assess the violence situation in inadmissible as evidence in a prosecution.
reps prevent workplace violence through changes to job their workplace and draw up a policy to LRD’s FBU research, for example, found that
design, the working environment and training. tackle the issue (see box on page 15). This can most reps and firefighters said CCTV blurs the
A thorough examination of the scale and causes of the be adapted to most workplaces. line between public servants and law enforc-
problem is coupled with detailed information on the ers – they felt that it eroded trust between
law, official guidance and union activities. Preventing violence themselves and their communities, and
Out now, price £4.45 In situations where workers are attacked over turned them into even more of a target.
inadequacies in the service they are able to Where CCTV has been imposed, unions
Call 020 7928 3649 to place your order provide, an obvious solution is for the em- have sought commitments from employers
ployer to tackle the failures of the system that footage will not be used for disciplining

16 Workplace Report February 2008

members rather than tackling violence. to report all abuse. In the meantime, unions
Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, for ex-
ample, has a policy which states: “CCTV will
such as the RMT have successfully used
surveys to discover how many workers have Rail firm’s climbdown
be used in accordance with the requirements experienced violence at work – and how they Last October, Northern Rail unilaterally imposed a
of the relevant legislation for the principal were treated afterwards (see box, left). change to its sick-pay policy, by penalising workers
purposes of protecting operational employ- Health and safety guidance from the HSE who went on sick leave following an attack unless they
ees against attacks or abusive behaviour. puts an emphasis on training as a practical had suffered “severe physical injury”.
CCTV will not be used for covert surveillance means of reducing the risks from any hazard. The change did not come to light until a a conductor
and, with the exception of gross negligence Violence at work is no exception, and many who had been physically assaulted and threatened
or misconduct, may not be used in any con- workers would benefit from being trained in with a bottle was told that he would receive only his
duct and performance proceedings.” what to do should an assault occur. basic pay rather than average wages, because the
Other technological solutions have more Management attitudes are vitally impor- latest in a string of attacks on him had not been
support; there are many examples of unions tant to the success of efforts to crack down serious enough.
persuading employers to supply panic but- on workplace violence – and in this respect, However, pressure from the union and MPs – 37 of
tons, personal alarms, mobile phones and train operator Nothern Rail set an appalling whom signed an Early Day Motion on the matter –
other devices for lone or vulnerable workers. example at the end of last year by docking the forced the company to tell RMT reps last month that it
PCS members in benefit offices took strike pay of staff who needed time off after being would withdraw the disputed document.
action in 2001-2 to keep security screens, assaulted at work (see box, right). “Our members had made it quite clear that the
which had prevented members from serious In contrast, the CWU/Royal Mail “Walk policy change was unacceptable, and the company has
injuries, while bus drivers have supported safe!” policy (see page 15) shows a recogni- now agreed to withdraw it pending proper talks on the
the installation of similar screens to protect tion by management of the risks faced by issue,” said RMT general secretary Bob Crow. “I hope
them from assault. And central locking and postal workers – for example, in its statement that we can now move forward with Northern and start
reinforced glass are now included on many that workers have the right to cease a delivery to deal effectively with the root of the problem, which
fire appliances to help prevent attacks. without fear of disciplinary action if it has is that the men and women who operate Northern’s
become unsafe. (This is in fact a right that services need better protection from assaults and
Managing incidents applies to all workers – the law states that abuse – and proper support if they become victims.”
One area with considerable room for improve- workers in “serious and imminent danger” For more about sick pay for people injured at work,
ment is the management of violence at work. can withdraw from situations where their see Workplace Report, December 2007, pages 15-17.
Relatively few employers have effective sys- health and safety is being threatened – but
tems in place to record and catalogue violence Royal Mail’s explicit acceptance of it should
at work, making it difficult to determine the improve workers’ confidence in the policy.) Experience shows that continued union cam-
true scale of the problem. Unions want sim- Workers on the front line delivering public paigning and negotiation is the best way to
ple-to-use recording systems to be adopted, services know how difficult their jobs can be, get the government and employers to take the
together with management encouragement without the added fear of attack and abuse. issue seriously and do something about it.

Shortened pay scales reduce

potential for discrimination
Pay systems based on long service may fall foul of age equality and equal pay laws – so how can
workers’ earnings reflect increases in experience and competence? Workplace Report investigates.

Last month, Workplace Report examined the length of service of more than five years, un- equal pay case concerning Bernadette Cad-
widespread practice of giving long-serving less offering the benefit is a “proportionate man, a member of the technical and profes-
employees more holiday in recognition of means of achieving a legitimate aim”; in sional union Prospect at the Health and
their loyalty to their employer. About one-fifth other words, there must be an objective Safety Executive. Cadman discovered that
of the current holiday agreements recorded justification (such as encouraging recruit- four male colleagues in her pay band were
on LRD’s Payline database involve enhance- ment and retention) for the benefit. being paid £4,000 to £9,000 more than she
ments to annual leave for staff with more than But while this loophole may be used to was; their longer length of service had ena-
five years’ service, despite the introduction justify service-related benefits (including sick bled them to progress further along the sal-
of anti-ageism legislation in October 2006 pay and retirement payments as well as an- ary scale in that band.
– but the phenomenon of linking pay to long nual leave – see boxes overleaf), pay struc- Cadman argued that the long pay scale
service has become much less common in tures based on long service have also been was an example of sex discrimination; be-
recent years. challenged on equal pay grounds. cause female workers are more likely to take
Under the Employment Equality (Age) In the same month that the age regula- time out to raise a family or take on caring
Regulations 2006, it is unlawful for an em- tions came into force, the European Court of responsibilities, she said, they typically have
ployer to offer any benefit based solely on Justice (ECJ) issued its ruling in an important a shorter length of service than men.

February 2008 Workplace Report 17

The ECJ’s ruling failed to deliver the The First Portsmouth bus firm does not

Sick pay “knockout blow” that Prospect had hoped

for, although it did offer some encouragement
use pay scales, but it does have one pay rate
for its minibus drivers and a separate, higher
Among 129 current agreements on LRD’s Payline to unions seeking to reduce the length of pay rate for “big bus” drivers; at present, minibus
database which specify a link between length of service scales within individual grades or bands. The drivers move onto the big bus rate after 12
and eligibility for sick pay, only 9% have no apparent court held that employers do not generally years’ service. But the third stage of the
link beyond the first year of service. Two-thirds of have to justify the length of their pay scales; company’s current four-year pay agreement
agreements move staff onto their maximum sick pay long service goes “hand in hand” with expe- on 1 April will see this service requirement
entitlement after five years’ service, with 15% requiring rience, it said, which improves the quality of reduced to just four years, while also increas-
one to five years before the maximum is reached. employees’ work. However, it added that this ing the minibus hourly rate by 10p more than
All of these arrangements are free from any hint of general rule can be challenged, if “serious the big bus rate – and the final stage in April
discrimination, as the age equality regulations apply doubts” can be raised that the operation of 2009 will see the two rates converge.
only to benefits related to more than five years’ service. such long scales genuinely enables workers In the public sector, where incremental
But 9% of agreements increase entitlement to sick pay to perform their duties better. pay scales are far more common, the most
over a longer period – up to 25 years in some cases. junior (Level 3) secretarial staff in the postal/
In the public sector, the five-year limit is common. Pay and long service administrative division of Royal Mail saw the
Under the NHS’s Agenda for Change agreement, staff in By highlighting the issue of service-related length of their pay scale reduced from seven
their first year of service can take one month’s sick pay and raising the possibility that employers to five points in October 2006.
leave on full pay followed by two months on half pay. will have to justify their long pay scales in an The Engineering and Physical Sciences
Their entitlement then increases to two months’ full employment tribunal, the Cadman case has Research Council moved to a five-band pay
pay and two months’ half pay in their second year; four had an effect. Incremental pay scales with structure last April, with increased pay
months’ full pay and four months’ half pay in their regular progression (subject to performance minima and shorter scales for the lowest-paid
third year; and five months’ full pay and five months’ in some cases) are still widely used, but employees. Staff were assimilated to the new
half pay in their fourth and fifth years. Finally, after five employers seem to be heeding union calls for scales by moving to the nearest higher point
years’ service, they move on to their maximum of six the length of these scales to be reduced. against their present salary, or to the pay
months on full pay followed by six months on half pay. Guidance on equal pay issues from civil minimum for their new band if their previous
The “Green Book” national agreement for local service union PCS points out that, as well as salary was below this level.
authorities in England and Wales gives new starters the tending to disadvantage women, long pay Under a two-year pay settlement at the UK
right to one month’s sick leave on full pay; after four scales create differences in pay between Hydrographic Office, the time taken for staff
months’ service, this is supplemented by two months people who may be doing exactly the same in the bottom two grades to progress through
on half pay. From their second year of service, their work to the same level of competence. The their pay bands was cut from six years to three
entitlement is identical to that offered in the NHS. union aims to set a standard of five years’ and five years respectively in August 2005.
In the private sector, however, technical staff at progression time from the minimum to the Progression times for the middle and top
Rolls-Royce (Bristol) have the right to six months’ sick maximum on the scale, with regular and grades stayed at nine and eight years respec-
leave on full pay plus six months on half pay, but qualify automatic progression through the scale tively, but in the second stage a year later they
for 12 months on full pay after 10 years’ service. At Akzo points (see box, above right), although it were both reduced to seven years.
Nobel, the entitlement is initially seven weeks on full accepts that the length of the scale may vary August 2006 also saw the shortening of
pay, rising to 11 weeks after two years, 16 weeks after slightly depending on the nature of the work pay scales at the Scottish Parliament, and a
four years, 24 weeks after six years, 32 weeks after being carried out. pay restructuring exercise at the National
eight years and 40 weeks for staff with 10 years’ A number of recent and forthcoming pay Museums of Scotland; this involved the reten-
service. And it takes 12 years for employees of GE settlements in the private and public sectors tion of the existing 10-band pay structure but
Aviation Systems Customer Services (formerly Smiths have reduced the length of pay scales (but with a “more condensed bandwidth” of pay
Aerospace, Cheltenham) to move from their initial nine- not always as far as the five-year optimum within each band. Times for progression
week entitlement to the maximum of 45 weeks. recommended by PCS). At First Bristol – one through the pay scale were reduced to four
A new scheme at bus company First Birkenhead of many bus firms operating a system of in- years for employees in junior grades, six years
links service to sick leave in a different way: while on cremental pay for drivers – the basic weekly in the middle grades and eight years for the
sick leave, employees receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) wage ranges from the £216.08 training rate most senior staff.
in their first five years of service, 75% of their gross pay to £328.19, paid to those with at least six In the same month, the Government Of-
in years six to eight, 85% of gross pay in years nine to years’ service. But as of the end of next fices for the English Regions reduced the
12 and 90% of gross pay thereafter. month, drivers will move on to the top band length of their pay scales by one year for all
However, concerns about age discrimination may after five years’ service – and the service re- staff. This moved those in the lowest two
lead employers to remove the link between sick pay and quirement will be reduced again to four years (administrative) grades onto five-point
long service. This year Unite is updating its collective from 30 March 2009. scales, although all other grades still have
agreement for craft workers at food manufacturer The new three-year agreement at First eight steps between their pay minima and
Kellogg’s, and is holding discussions with the company Huddersfield, meanwhile, has reduced the maxima.
over its absence management arrangements – including time needed to progress between the com- An ongoing process of shortening pay
the level of sick pay entitlement based on service. Where pany’s three pay rates: with effect from 2 bands at the Department for Culture, Media
employers agree to reduce the length of service required December last year, it takes three years for and Sport continued in August 2006 with the
before a maximum level of entitlement is reached, the drivers to move from the lowest rate (£7.00 division of each of the organisation’s five pay
challenge for unions is to ensure that the employer per hour) to the middle rate (£8.11), and then bands into three narrow “zones”.
enables staff to reach the same maximum more quickly a further two years to reach the top rate Pressure exerted by Prospect and PCS to
rather than simply reducing the maximum entitlement. (£9.59). This represents a reduction of six move onto shorter pay scales has had a
months in each step. considerable impact across the civil service.

18 Workplace Report February 2008

Similar arguments have been advanced in income tax falling on the employee. Staff with
recent years within local government, in an
attempt to reduce the length of councils’ pay
20 years’ service receive 3,000 points and an
additional day’s leave (for that year only). Automatic progression
scales against the backdrop of new pay Those reaching their 30- and 40-year mile- While automatic progression through a pay scale may
structures required under the national “sin- stones receive 4,500 and 6,000 points re- be considered discriminatory on age grounds (since
gle status agreement”. But the results have spectively. younger workers are likely to be at a lower point on the
been mixed – an LRD survey of the first coun- And vouchers redeemable at department scale than their older colleagues), PCS considers it to
cils to adopt new pay structures found that store John Lewis are awarded at ExxonMobil be preferable to a discretionary approach. “The more
about a third had pay bands of more than six Chemicals, to the value of £250 after 10 years’ discretion that is involved, the higher the risk of
pay points per grade (see Workplace Report, service, £600 after 20 years, £750 after 30 discrimination,” the union argues.
July 2005, pages 17-19). years and £900 after 40 years. In general, PCS says, progression should be
Rather than offering cash or vouchers to automatic all the way to the maximum point on the
One-off payments be spent elsewhere, other employers give scale for a particular grade (reached within five years),
While the length of pay scales is decreasing, their long-serving employees a choice of gifts which should be “the rate for the job” – the salary for a
many employers are continuing to offer mon- which the company supplies itself. White- fully competent worker in that role. While accepting
etary rewards to their long-standing employ- goods manufacturer Indesit offers its staff a that it may sometimes be appropriate for a grade’s pay
ees – not in the form of a consolidated pay gift to the value of one week’s wages, to be scale to have automatic promotion up to a certain point
rise but as a one-off payment. PCS advises chosen from its own catalogue, on completion and then discretionary progression beyond it, the
that such payments should “reward senior- of 25 years’ service. Birds Eye Frozen Foods union stresses that the discretionary criteria should be
ity and experience, not staying power”, but also offers gifts to a certain value after 15 and gender-neutral, understood by all workers and
long-service awards – in the form of cash or 40 years’ service, and a month’s tax-free monitored to ensure that equal proportions of both
vouchers – remain relatively common. salary after 25 years. And catalogue awards sexes progress.
The recently revised staff agreement at at Perkins Engines are worth £50, £75, £250
pharmaceutical company Sanofi-Aventis and £450 after 10, 15, 25 and 40 years respec-
(Dagenham), for example, awards employees tively; staff also get a day’s extra leave in their tence, commitment to the job, relations with
£250 once they have achieved 10 years’ 20th, 30th and 40th years of service. the public and colleagues, and willingness to
continuous service; they also get £500 after Staff at chemicals manufacturer MacDer- learn and adjust to new circumstances.
15 years, £750 after 20 years, £1,000 after 25 mid receive a gift after every five years of These examples demonstrate that unions
years, £1,250 after 30 years, £1,500 after 35 service, with their spouse or partner also do now have the ability to review even well-
years and £650 plus £1,000 in travel vouchers receiving a gift after 15 years or more. Team established benefits based on length of
if they achieve 40 years’ service. This arrange- leaders at insurers Diligenta, meanwhile, can service, if they wish to do so.
ment was negotiated by reps from the gen- authorise expenses of up to £300 to celebrate
eral union Unite, who said it was “requested employees’ reaching each five-year mile-
by employees as a desired benefit that moti-
vates staff and encourages retention”.
stone; this can be spent on a non-work event
such as a meal or a team golf day. Other benefits
Battery manufacturer Chloride Motive Long-service pay awards can also be At Runnymede Borough Council, which has opted out of
Power provides a £200 cash bonus to staff found in the public sector. Staff who complete the national agreement for local authorities in England
once their length of service has reached 10 25 years’ continuous service at the London and Wales, a retirement grant is payable to employees
years, and again every five years thereafter. Borough of Ealing, for example, are eligible with 25 years’ unbroken service. To qualify for this
(They also receive one extra day’s holiday on for a £580 payment. This arrangement is lump sum (which varies in size according to the number
completing 20 years’ service). And Petroleum notable for defining “continuous” as includ- of years worked), staff must be entitled to receive
firm Ineos Manufacturing Scotland provides ing periods of service separated by up to eight immediate local government pension benefits through
a £500 gift and a company dinner for employ- years’ absence for maternity reasons. normal retirement or retirement on grounds of ill
ees with 25 years’ service. health, redundancy or efficiency. Additionally,
Vouchers rather than cash are provided Negotiated alternatives employees with at least 10 years’ consecutive service
by some employers. Insurance firm Atradius’s Clearly service-linked benefits remain en- may have their pay enhanced by up to 10% in their final
award for 25 years’ service is £1,250 in vouch- trenched in the UK labour market, but they year of service, at the discretion of management.
ers. And American-owned vehicle manufac- are not immune from change. Engineering In contrast, unions at Bifrangi UK have negotiated
turer Terex runs a voucher scheme providing firm Bifrangi UK (Sheffield) recently introduced to replace long-service awards (along with a pre-
the equivalent of $100 after five years’ serv- a new retirement package in place of its retirement agreement that applied at one of the
ice, $250 after 10 years and $500 after 15 system of long-service awards, and last year company’s sites but not the other) with an arrangement
years; the vouchers are converted to pounds the Fire Service phased out a scheme that to award 75 days’ pay to all employees reaching
sterling and issued in “Love2Shop” vouchers increased firefighters’ pay by around £990 a retirement age, irrespective of their length of service.
which can be spent at a variety of chain year once they had 15 years’ service. At the London Borough of Ealing, employees with
stores. The scheme was introduced in the In its place, the FBU firefighters’ union two years’ continuous service in a post requiring them
summer of 2006, suggesting that Terex does negotiated a system of payments to recognise to occupy accommodation (for the better performance
not consider it to be open to accusations of and reward experienced staff who can dem- of their duties as a service tenant) are guaranteed up to
discrimination. onstrate continual professional development two offers of alternative accommodation if they leave
Under an agreement between Fox’s Bis- (CPD) over and above that required for “com- their post under certain circumstances.
cuits and the BFAWU bakery workers’ union, petent” firefighters. Eligibility for the pay- And staff with 10 years’ service at Air Products
long-service awards take the form of points ments (worth between £199 and £915, de- (Acrefair) get free entitlement to BUPA health
which can be redeemed under the Northern pending on the fire authority) is based on insurance in addition to service-related holiday.
Food catalogue system, with no liability for national standards in professional compe-

February 2008 Workplace Report 19

Labour Research LRD Payline
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interested in another of our services: LRD Payline.
LRD Payline is an Internet-based information
service, allowing users to compare pay and
conditions across a range of industries. It is
based on 2,200 collective agreements, and

more are being added all the time. LRD Payline
Jeremy Pinel can be accessed from our website
Staff writers (www.lrd.org.uk) and from some union sites.
Ali Brown To produce LRD Payline, we analyse
Workplace Report is published 11 times a year by the Sally Buffard agreements supplied by union reps across the
Labour Research Department, Lewis Emery country, and input the key elements into a
78 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HF Lionel Fulton database. Pay increases, pay rates, hours,
Paul Hampton holidays, regional allowances and maternity/
tel: 020 7928 3649 paternity arrangements are already covered,
Neal Moister
fax: 020 7928 0621 and other areas will be included in the future.
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e-mail: pay@lrd.org.uk Workplace Report uses this material in some
Clare Ruhemann
web: www.lrd.org.uk of its articles and surveys, but LRD Payline has
Dave Statham
Prices Nathalie Towner the advantage of always being up to date.
Users can compare, for example, their own
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Subscription Jean Hindmarsh
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£57.75 to not-for-profit organisations Cheryl Zimmerman
a number of unions – including Unite, UNISON,
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Printed by the GMB, the RMT, TSSA, PCS and Community –
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Main topics featured in Workplace Report since March 2003

accommodation allowances 52 11/07 flexible working 24 04/05 religion and belief discrimination 47 05/07
age discrimination 39 09/06 harassment 10 01/04, 20 12/04 retirement policies 50 09/07
apprentice pay 38 07/06 health and safety review safety reps 30 11/05
asbestos 44 02/07 17 09/04, 27 07/05, 38 07/06, 49 07/07 service-related leave 54 01/08
bonuses and incentive payments 30 11/05 information & consultation 14 05/04, 35 04/06 sexual orientation law 10 01/04
bullying 10 01/04, 20 12/04 learning reps 36 05/06 shift work 8 11/03, 20 12/04,
callout payments 39 09/06 London weighting 5 07/03, 16 07/04, 31 12/05, 42 12/06, 53 12/07
carers 47 05/07 26 06/05, 37 06/06, 48 06/07 sickness absence policies 15 06/04, 53 12/07
childcare provision 4 06/03 low pay 28 09/05 single status in local government 27 07/05
Christmas working 8 11/03 maternity/paternity/adoption/parental leave smoking 48 06/07
corporate social responsibility 14 05/04 2 04/03, 13 04/04, 25 05/05, 46 04/07 standby payments 39 09/06
disability audits 43 01/07 meal allowances 50 09/07 stress at work 9 12/03, 34 03/06
drivers’ pay and hours 4 06/03, 15 06/04 monitoring and surveillance 23 03/05, 45 03/07 teleworking 36 05/06
drug/alcohol policies 2 04/03, 21 01/05 overtime 33 02/06 temporary workers 3 05/03
employee assistance schemes 9 12/03 pay protection 28 09/05 time off for union duties 42 12/06
employment contracts 22 02/05 pay review bodies 23 03/05 trans workers 49 07/07
environmental action 31 12/05, 44 02/07 pay round analysis 1 03/03, 6 09/03, 13 04/04, travel allowances 11 02/04
equal pay 16 07/04, 26 06/05 18 10/04, 19 11/04, 24 04/05, two-tier workforce 1 03/03
equal pay reviews 5 07/03 29 10/05, 35 04/06, 40 10/06, union reps survey 7 10/03
equal pension rights 16 07/04 41 11/06, 46 04/07, 51 10/07, 52 11/07 utilities 25 05/05
European bargaining 10 01/04, 21 01/05, pensions 7 10/03, 12 03/04, 32 01/06, 37 06/06 victimisation of union reps 33 02/06
32 01/06, 43 01/07, 54 01/08 pre-retirement leave 11 02/04 voluntary sector 22 02/05
European companies 7 10/03 public sector pay 17 09/04 whistleblowing 34 03/06
finance sector pay 19 11/04 racism 3 05/03 women’s health and safety 12 03/04
first aid provision 45 03/07 redundancy policies 41 11/06 young workers’ pay 9 12/03

20 Workplace Report February 2008