a new publication from the Policy & Information Team. It aims
to provide a concise and topical news service for activists and
staff engaged in representing and bargaining on behalf of UNISON
members in Scotland. Recognising that not all activists have the
access or time to read detailed information we hope this summary
format will be helpful. Further information on any of the news items
below is available from the P&I Team and we welcome feedback
on any aspect of this service.
in Own Cause
the Pay Gap
a strange world …
Judge in Own Cause
In R v Chief Constable of Merseyside Police ex-parte Bennion
IDS Brief 678 Bennion a Chief Inspector made a complaint of
harassment and victimisation to an industrial tribunal. Before the
tribunal was heard the Chief Constable refused a request that a
subsequent disciplinary matter should be transferred to another
force. Bennion was disciplined and demoted.
The High Court in England
held that the Chief Constable should not have conducted the disciplinary
hearing because the outcome could have a bearing on the tribunal
claim. Where there was a real possibility of partiality no one could
be a "judge in their own cause".
This case could be a
useful argument against the not uncommon practice of pursuing disciplinary
hearings when there are outstanding grievances. Particularly when
these are the subject of application to an ET.
Burden of proof
The EU Burden of Proof
Directive has to be implemented by 22 July 2001. This will shift
the burden of proof in discrimination cases from the employee to
employer. It will also widen the grounds on which claims for indirect
discrimination can be made.
The court of Session
in British Airways v Boyce 2001 IRLR 157 have confirmed that
the English and the Scottish are of different national origin and
therefore can make a claim based on nationality but not ethnic origins.
The court also decided that this is a subjective decision and that
nationality could alter. It is not limited to a person's birthplace.
This could have interesting consequences if applied to qualification
for the Scotland football team!
The limits for awards
at an Employment Tribunal have been increased roughly in line with
inflation. The weekly wage limit from £230 to £240 and the unfair
dismissal compensatory award from £50,000 to £51,700.
The personal injury compensation
company has suffered a sharp drop in customer numbers after the
BBC's Watchdog series unearthed angry claimants who had received
little or no compensation for their injuries despite winning big
awards in court. Their awards were wiped out by an insurance premium
that Claims Direct charged to cover its costs in the event of a
lost case. Another good reason to be thankful for UNISON's legal
The House of Lords have
finally ruled on the long running case UNISON has supported on behalf
of part-time workers who have been denied access to pension schemes.
The many thousands of cases lodged by UNISON will now be processed
and many members will be entitled to compensation. A factsheet has
been circulated to branches.
More confusion over what
constitutes an economic entity for the purposes of the regulations
in the ECJ decision Oy Liikenne Ab v Liskojarvi 2001 IRLR 171.
In a contract for seven bus routes no vehicles were transferred
and this was held to be significant in this transfer. This decision
appears to conflict with recent decisions in the UK courts and reinforces
the need to expedite the current review of the regulations.
Close the Pay Gap
The Scottish Executive
has launched a campaign to close the pay gap between men and women.
Working with the STUC, EOC and CBI the campaign aims to raise awareness
of the pay gap and encourage activity to reduce the gap.
Branches may wish to
use this ministerial launch to press their employers to undertake
equal pay audits. Unless employers gather pay data they will not
be able to seriously address equal pay. The EOC is recommending
that the Government amend the Equal Pay Act to make such audits
The TUC call centre campaign
has again highlighted the poor working conditions in some call centres.
The TUC report estimates that over 400,000 staff are employed in
call centres which is more than the coal, steel and motor industries
put together. This could grow to 665,000 WTE jobs by 2008.
Much of this growth is
likely to be in the public sector although at the expense of traditional
public contact staff. The Scottish Executive's 21st Century Government
initiative is promoting call centre technology in the public sector
(see P&I Briefing No. 10 on Shared
There are over 50,000
call centre staff in Scotland. Growing competition for staff has
forced average earnings up to £13,100, the highest in the UK outside
Details of the TUC survey
can be viewed at www.tuc.org.uk
The P&I Team can also provide more detailed pay and conditions data
and a revised UNISON negotiators guide will be published shortly.
A survey of 926 managers
by the Institute of Employment Studies has found that appraisal
systems have only a limited impact on organisational performance.
This is particularly the case when appraisals are linked to pay.
Effective appraisals should have a clear link between staff performance
and the organisations goals as well as being simple to understand
Testing employees for
illegal substances could be restricted when a Data Protection code
of practice comes into force in April this year. The draft code
recommends that testing can only be justified on safety grounds.
This may well limit the blanket testing arrangements which are creeping
in to many organisations.
79% of employers believe
stress should be controlled in the same way as other workplace health
and safety issues according to a study published by the HSE. www.hse.gov.uk/hsehome.htm
The increasing use of
automatic psychometric testing could be in breach of the Data Protection
Act. Employers have to tell employees that the process was automated
and provide an appeal process.
Union Learning Representatives
The Government is considering
giving union learning representatives legal status , similar to
that of safety representatives. This would give them greater status
and require employers to consult them over training strategy. www.dti.gov.uk
A system requiring a
medical certificate for every absence increased sickness absence
by 10% in a trial at Marks & Spencer.
It's a strange
Managers in an Austrian
car factory painted the men's toilet bright pink and the women's
sickly green. A survey then showed that staff spent less time in
the toilets and production rose by 8%. Better keep this one quiet!
@ the P&I Team
14 West Campbell St
Tel 0141-332 0006
Fax 0141-307 2572