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About the P&I Team Briefings Home | Responses | PFI Index | Policy Guide
BARGAIN BRIEF December 2002
Topical news for activists and staff  
bargain brief is

...a 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.

Contacts list:
Dave Watson
Dianne Anderson

@ the P&I Team
14 West Campbell St
Glasgow G26RX
Tel 0141-332 0006
Fax 0141-307 2572


- Annual uprating of compensation limits
- Confusion over TUPE and Profit Sharing Schemes
- Delay in Corporate Manslaughter Legislation
-Christian advertisement was objectively justified

Employment Rights
- Flexible Working

Health & Safety
Britons want more health and safety, not less.

Workplace Issues
- 1 in 5 Bullied at Work
- Equal Pay Gap Widens
Minimum Wage
- No new recruits for 50% of final salary pensions

A Scottish company has turned its staff social room into a playground

Click here for previous Bargain Briefs



Annual uprating of compensation limits

The order uprating the upper limit on various employment tribunal awards is now available. The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) (No. 2) Order 2002 (SI 2002/2927) takes effect on 1 February 2003 and will bring the following changes into effect:

- the maximum on a week's pay for statutory purposes, for example calculating the basic award for unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy pay, will rise from £250 to £260

- the limit on the compensatory award for unfair dismissal will rise from £52,600 to £53,500

- the minimum basic award for certain automatically unfair dismissals, including trade union membership, health and safety and public interest disclosure, will rise from £3,400 to £3,500

- the limit on amount of guarantee payment payable to an employee in respect of any day will rise from £17.00 to £17.30

- the minimum amount of compensation that the EAT may award in relation to unlawful exclusion from a trade union will rise from £5,600 to £5,700

The increases apply where the event giving rise to the entitlement to compensation or other payments occurred on or after 1st February 2003.

In accordance with the statutory formula set out in S.34 Employment Relations Act 1999, the increases made by this Order reflect the increase in the index from September 2001 to September 2002.

The Statutory Instrument giving rise to these changes may be found here http://www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk/si/si2002/20022927.htm.

Confusion over TUPE and Profit Sharing Schemes

The case of MITIE Managed Services Limited v French & Others (2002) has highlighted the problem of transferring workers who had a contractual right to participate in a company's profit sharing scheme.

In this case Mrs French lost her rights to participate in her original employers profit sharing scheme after her post was transferred to another employer.

Although the original Employment Tribunal concluded that there was a contractual entitlement to the scheme, the EAT dismissed this decision on the grounds that the new employers had no control over, or the ability to buy into the shares of the original employee's company. This decision has now been appealed to the Court of Appeal for further clarification.

Delay in Corporate Manslaughter Legislation

A new law introducing a corporate manslaughter charge against employers for fatal work accidents has been postponed following eleventh hour consultation. Employers were concerned with crown immunity and the legal process following an accident; under current wording, directors could be dismissed before the case gets to court. However, involuntary manslaughter legislation would have made it easier to hold individual directors responsible for fatal workplace incidents. The omission of this legislation from the Queens Speech will mean that it will be delayed until at least 2004.

Christian advertisement was objectively justified.

The recent EAT decision in Gallant v Church of Scotland Board of Social Responsibility highlighted that church organisations can have an objective justification for including religious commitments within the wording of a job advertisement.

In this case Mr Gallant, who is Jewish, complained that he was being racially discriminated against for a post in which the advert stated applicants needed 'a live church connection and a Christian commitment'. This claim was rejected by the original tribunal and further upheld by the EAT on the grounds that since the advertiser was part of a Christian church and its aim was to provide care according to a Christian ethos, this was a legitimate objective. The EAT concluded that Human Rights Act points raised on appeal, related to issues over which the tribunal had no jurisdiction.


Employment Rights

Flexible Working

Working parents will, from 6th April 2003, have a new right to apply for flexible working. It is estimated that around 3.8 million parents will be covered. The eligibility criteria includes having 6 months service, parental responsibility for a child aged under 6, or for a disabled child aged under 18 and the application must be for the purpose of caring for the child.

However, although there will be statutory procedures for handling such a request, the employer has eight statutory reasons for which a request can be denied. This includes if the shift to flexible working will burden the business with additional cost.

Although employees can complain to an ET, it can only review the procedures applied by the employer and not their decision to deny flexible working.



Health & Safety

Britons want more health and safety, not less

Safety is not getting enough attention in Britain, but you might end up branded a troublemaker if you say so, a new survey suggests. HSE says the first ever health and safety module within the British Social Attitudes Survey shows half of those questioned (49 per cent) believe not enough attention is paid to health and safety at work in Britain, with 42 per cent saying that the amount of attention paid was about right and only 4 per cent saying it was too much.

More than one in eight (13 per cent) believed that they would be seen as a troublemaker if they reported a health and safety problem at work. Health and Safety Commissioner Maureen Rooney, also a member the TUC General Council, said: 'The people who say Britain is a nanny state are out of touch. People in Britain want their health and safety protected by the HSE and by their trade unions. That means clearer responsibilities for employers, clearer rights for workers and safety reps, and tough action against people who break the law.

We need more money for the HSE, more support for safety reps and new laws on corporate killing.'


Bargaining issues



Workplace Issues

1 in 5 Bullied at Work

According to new research by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, more than 1 in 5 employees have been bullied at work in the past year. If this figure was applied across the UK it would amount to 1.5 million workers. The research also highlights that 24% of middle managers and 17% of senior managers said they had been bullied in the past year. This raises concern that those managers who are victims of bullying may be more likely to bully the staff that they manage.

Equal Pay Gap Widens

The gap between men and women's wages has widened for the first time since 1997.

According to the New Earnings Survey, women who work full time earn just 81.2% of the average full time male wage. They also show that part time female staff earn 58.9% of

the male full time average hourly wage, compared to 58.7% in 2001.

Minimum Wage

Since 1999, there have been 1,910 inspections regarding employers who fail to pay the minimum wage. This has resulted in over £660,000 in wage arrears being recovered for low paid workers in Scotland.

No new recruits for 50% of final salary pensions

More than half of all final salary pension schemes are now closed to all members of staff, according to research by the Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA). The research found that employer contributions into final salary schemes have increased by 14% in the past year while contributions into occupational money purchase schemes are not increasing to offset deteriorating investment returns.






A Scottish company has turned its staff social room into a playground, complete with giant chess board, golf course and PlayStation terminals.

Malcolm Bushell, who owns Ingenico Fortronic, believes the playground will make his 170 staff work harder. They can play golf on the six-hole putting green, or test out a giant Scalextrix set, or just relax in the garden with soothing fountains.

The facilities are part of a £1m investment at the company which designs and develops electronic payment terminals. However there could be some concerns about the playground initiative.

Staff could develop some unhealthy rivalries on the PlayStation and games of kiss chase could lead to some messy employment tribunal claims.



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