Labour Law Highlights 2012

Submitted by sglenister on Thu, 04/10/2012 - 10:52

By Rebecca Tuck, Betsan Criddle & Stuart Brittenden

Published in October 2012

An update on employment law and highlights of cases this year that reflect the change in the labour law landscape under the Coalition government.

About the book

In recent years, the introduction to Labour Law Review has begun with an apology for the length of the publication, reflecting how employment law continues to produce a vast range of cases to supplement the ever-changing legislative landscape. This year, the authors have decided to move away from an annual review of cases and instead undertake a review of the highlights. The backdrop to these highlights is of course the Coalition government's so called 'austerity measures', which continue to have an enormous impact on the lives of workers as well as on employment law. Legally, the authors note that the economic climate has led to the courts refining the legal principles applicable to redundancies, titling the law towards employers. Politically, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill has been making its way through Parliament, aiming, according to the government, to "cut the costs of doing business in Britain, and helping the private sector create jobs". The impact on workers' rights seems to be of secondary concern. As the authors note, changes to the qualifying period for unfair dismissal, proposals to scrap questionnaire procedures, cuts to the ACAS and EHRC funding and legislation clearing the way for the introduction of fees before tribunal claims can be lodged, all seem to be chipping away at access to justice for workers. The authors go on to consider how trade unions and the TUC are responding to such legal and political attacks, noting that the TUC is considering an anti-austerity general strike, the legality of which the IER has discussed in its publication Days of Action. Readers of this annual update on judicial and statutory developments might also want to visit the IER's new Timeline, an easy-to-use interactive summary of the Coalition Government's anti-trade union policies and proposals since they came into office.

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