Employment Legislation Publications

The impact of contracting out on employment relations in public services

_by Sanjiv Sachdev_ As part of the New Labour agenda for renewing better funded public services, there has been a sharp increase in the role of the private sector in public services delivery. Areas of the public realm once almost exclusively undertaken by the public sector – such as defence and criminal justice - have seen the private sector play an increasingly prominent role. Indeed, according to this report 93% of workplaces are outsourcing four or more services previously done by their own employees. So what are the implications for workers? Despite the large numbers of employees affected, the employment relations implications of contracting out have been seriously neglected. This report aims to set that right and the conclusions are worrying.

Labour Law Review 2005

By Jenny Eady QC and Rebecca Tuck

Published in September 2005

Following the election of an historic third term Labour government, this year’s edition of Labour Law Review is a timely reminder of how far our framework of law has developed in recent years and how far we still need to go before fairness at work can be envisaged.

The Trade Disputes Act 1906

By Jim Mortimer

Published in April 2005

The 1906 Trade Disputes Act was a watershed in trade union history. It came at a time when trade unions were under attack from employers and the courts and when previously gained rights were being lost.

The Act provided a statutory right to peaceful picketing and repealed the precedent set by the Taff Vale railwaymen case, (1900) which made trade unions liable for damages caused during a strike. It also restored the principle of immunity against ‘civil conspiracy’ – a legal concept used to prevent workers taking collective action.

In short the 1906 Act put the sting back in the tail of the labour movement. As Jim Mortimer says the Act was both a landmark and an achievement in the history of British trade unionism and compares very favourably with what exists today.

The Future of Company Law: Fat Cats, Corporate Governance and Workers

By Bill Wedderburn

Published in October 2004

All too often we hear news stories about “fat cat” employers paying themselves huge pay increases along with massive bonus packages. The CBI claim that the problem is “confined to a few instances”. The TUC on the other hand call this a “crisis in the legitimacy of capitalism”. However described, what is certain is the discrepancy in pay is fuelling the general inequality apparent in our society.

Labour Law Review 2004

by Jennifer Eady and Rebecca Tuck

Published in September 2004

As we head towards the possibility of an historic third term Labour Government, this year’s Labour Law Review provides a timely reminder of the strengths and weaknesses of the UK’s framework of employment law.

Unfair Labour Practices: Trade Union Recognition and Employer Resistance

By Keith Ewing, Sian Moore and Stephen Wood

Published in October 2003

On 6th June 2000 a new statutory recognition procedure came into force. The stated aim of the legislation was to ensure that where a trade union has the support of more than 50 per cent of the workforce, it should be recognised by the employer. Three years on, the Institute of Employment Rights has analysed the case-work of the Central Arbitration Committee – the body overseeing the procedure – and examined the extent to which the procedure has delivered on the recognition promise.

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