26 September 2007
This conference – timed to coincide with the proposed introduction of new legislation – is also perfectly timed to discuss future strategies on labour law in the light of decisions at both the TUC and Labour Party Conferences.
Workplace relations, labour law and how best to secure fairness at work – three expert organisations join forces to lead the debate.
Labour Deputy Leader candidate and TUC leader to address conference
As commentators discuss the possibility of a fresh round of disputes across industrial sectors, speakers at this event will argue that UK laws need to be improved, updated and strengthened if we are to reduce the number of industrial disputes and the number of claims going to employment tribunals. But for that to happen, a radical approach to reform needs to be on the Brown agenda.
Trade unions need the autonomy and freedoms required to adequately protect and promote the interests of workers. But such autonomy is hampered by the legislative restrictions on unions introduced over the past 25 years. According to John Hendy QC, the leading barrister in the case of ASLEF v UK, (on BNP infiltration into unions and whether unions had the right to expel them) the government is now duty bound to reconsider many of those restrictions in light of the ASLEF decision at the European Court of Human Rights.
The government has agreed to amend UK law but Hendy will argue that the government’s current proposals do not go far enough stating: “The case has wider implications than its effect on membership of political parties”. He will go on to identify at least five additional areas of law which need amending to comply with the legal implications of the case.
According to Hendy, after many years of anti trade union laws “there are many incursions on trade union autonomy in UK law and union lawyers will, no doubt, be reviewing which are most appropriate for legal challenge”.
Other issues covered at the event include the future shape of dispute resolution procedures following the critical review of current arrangements undertaken by Gibbons and an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the protection offered to whistleblowers, eight years after the law came into force. The afternoon will focus on discrimination issues with equal pay, victimisation and changes to the burden of proof in race cases high on the agenda.
Jon Cruddas (fresh from running for the Deputy Leadership position) and Frances O’Grady (the highest female leader of the TUC) will both give keynote speeches on their vision for the future of labour law under Brown.
Notes to editors:
(1) Flyer for event attached
(2) TUC, Old Square Chambers and the Institute of Employment Rights
(3) Further information available from Carolyn Jones, 07941 076245
(4) Press places available on request