Employment Law Update: Liverpool

Submitted by sglenister on Tue, 12/12/2017 - 14:15
18/01/2018 09:00

Thursday 18 January 2018

A one-day conference

Unite the Union, Liverpool

9.30am – 3.00pm

Organised by the Institute of Employment Rights

About the Conference

This year has been a landmark one for employment law, with the issue of exploitative working practices reaching public consciousness through repeated scandals at “gig economy” and low-pay employers, prompting political inquiry into reform. At our popular annual employment law update, top lawyers, academics and trade unionists from across the UK meet to discuss the year’s developments in labour law and make proposals for the furthering and protection of workers’ rights.

Following a raft of court cases that found “gig” workers were being misclassified as “self employed” at companies around the country, the government announced the Taylor Review into modern working practices. Published in July, the key recommendation of this much-anticipated report was to recategorise “workers” as “dependent contractors”, with the ability to “opt out” of the minimum wage. More broadly, the review identified workers’ voice as a cornerstone of stamping out exploitative practices in the workplace, but stopped short of recommending improved trade union rights.

In a landmark success for access to justice, Unison won its four-year long challenge to the government’s tribunal fee regime in July when the Supreme Court ruled the charges unlawful. The government must now repay millions of pounds to claimants who paid the illegal fees, and case law may now make further progress as the 79% drop in cases taken to tribunal since the fees were introduced is expected to reverse.

A key section of The Trade Union Act 2016 has been rejected by the Welsh Assembly, which has voted to repeal legislation pertaining to its public services, including the 40% ‘support’ threshold on industrial action ballots, restrictions on the check-off system, and further scrutiny of facility time (with the potential for this to be limited by Westminster). In England, trade unions have met the Act head on, with enthusiastic participation among members, including with October’s 90% support for action at Royal Mail. However, this case also brought to light new challenges for trade unions when the employer obtained an injunction against the strike.

A landmark year too for equality, with the introduction of gender pay reporting; the publication of the government’s “race disparity audit”, which found significant gaps in employment opportunities between white and BAME candidates; and the latest hearing in the largest-ever equal pay case in the private sector, as mostly female shop workers challenge Asda to provide wages equivalent to their mostly male warehouse colleagues.

Finally, the shadow of Brexit has thrown the future of employment law into uncertainty, with the potential for the erosion of rights through the government’s controversial “Henry VIII” powers, the overturning of cases won on EU-derived principles, and the pressure to join a race to the bottom on labour law when negotiating new international trade deals.

With workers’ rights now a key political issue on the agenda of every major party, we look at current trends, successes, challenges, and proposals for better employment law.


James Harrison, IER
Download introduction

Paul Scholey, Morrish Solicitors
The year in employment law
Download presentation

Hannah Boynes, Morrish Solicitors
Liability for acts of Employees
Download presentation

Paul Scholey, Morrish Solicitors
Cases from the workplace
Download presentation

Hannah Boynes, Morrish Solicitors
Disability cases 2017
Download presentation

Matthew Pull, Thompsons Solicitors
Gender pay reporting: is it working?
Download presentation

Prof. Keith Ewing, IER
The future of employment rights

Click here to download full programme

IER_ELU_Liverpool_18Jan2018.pdf275.04 KB
Hannah Boynes Disability presentation.PPTX182.75 KB
Hannah Boynes Liability presentation.pptx907.86 KB
Matthew Pull thompsons presentation.ppt995.5 KB
Paul Scholey Cases from the Workplace.pptx255.94 KB
Paul Scholey Year in Emp Law lite.pptx5.36 MB
Introduction.pdf368.02 KB

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