News digest 29 July 2013

News digest 29 July 2013

29 July 2013

The top story today is the continued erosion of workplace rights. From today the Tories aim to place the onus on employees to not just fight for justice, but pay through the nose for it. Like the continued attack on the NHS, as ever the Tories use one bad example to slam the whole system, but from today people will have to stump up £1,200 before they can have an unfair dismissal or discrimination case heard. In what could be considered a licence for bad bosses to get away with abusing staff. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, quoted in a number of papers, said: “What we are seeing today is injustice writ large as this worker-bashing government takes a sledgehammer to workers’ rights - this is a throwback to Victorian times. Seeking redress for unfair dismissal and discrimination and other injustices in the workplace is a fundamental human right – but now ministers are putting up insurmountable financial hurdles for working people in pursuit of justice. We estimate that this will affect 150,000 workers a year. This is not an aid to economic recovery but a means to keep working people frightened and insecure.” Unite has pledged to pay the costs of its members that plan to challenge bad bosses over discrimination or unfair dismissal issues, some 150,000 people a year are expected to be affected.

And bad bosses in the construction industry are under fire once again, with more claims of blacklisting on the Crossrail project this time business secretary Vince Cable has come out as saying he will take tough action against firms that target staff due to their union activity. Unite member Frank Morris, an electrician who worked on the project, is taking an employment tribunal and ‘blacklisting test case’ over claims he was dismissed from his job on Crossrail last September after voicing safety concerns. Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail argued there needs to be a full and proper 'Leveson style' inquiry into blacklisting and the failure of contractors BAM, Ferrovial and Kier to reinstate Morris was proof the issue must be urgently addressed.

Finally as the Express tries to talk up the economic recovery, and the Mail notes Osborne’s ‘Help to Buy' scheme support could lead to a new housing bubble, David Blanchflower says the recovery has done nothing for thousands of underemployed workers. Even worse the front page of the Guardian reports on the rising scandal of zero-hours workers, citing the case of Sports Direct which employs its entire 20,000 part time workforce on zero hours contracts, that means some 90 per cent of the firm’s staff have no idea how many hours a week they will work, have no sick pay, holiday pay and no guarantee of regular work. Even worse managers have the ‘power’ to exclude staff from bonus schemes for ‘unsatisfactory performance’ even though that term is not defined. So if someone speaks up for a colleague they could not only find themselves without any work for weeks, but even excluded from long term incentive plans, as ever Britain takes another step back to the Victorian age…

 Morning Star

 Daily Mirror




 Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Clampdown on right to challenge new laws (p1) [judicial reviews to cost more]
  • Workers must pay extra £1,200 to fight dismissal (p2)
  • Post Officer staff strike (p4)
  • Unions could lose clout on leadership contest (p14) – Unite cited
  • Five ways to widen Tory appeal and win – Tim Montgomerie (p19)
  • ‘Misleading prospectus’ claims open against RBS (p33)
  • Siemens chief on way out (p34)
  • Over 30,000 stores now empty (p36)




  • Ministers feud over migrants message (p1)
  • Free parking on double yellow lines to help high street (p1)
  • 111 unsafe at weekends (p2)
  • Lib Dem donor denied peerage after care home neglect claims (p8)
  • Barclays to seek cash (b1)
  • Shake-up means Airbus can fly free to take on Boeing in Asia (b4)

 FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Cable warns of help to buy bubble (p2)
  • Job growth fuels fears of regional fault line (p3)
  • Siemens eyes chief’s early exit (p15)

 Edited by Mik Sabiers

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