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News 14-24 November 2021

Published 26 November 2021

After delays to the usual steady flow of news tears caused by unreported Brexit gripes, though heavily denied by the Home Secretary, we take a look at the most gripping employment news stories recently. 

 

We start with the extremely unusual situation of a good new story.  Whistleblowing reports over violations of the national minimum wage have fallen and its all down to the furlough scheme allegedly.(1) An M&S worker has hailed the ‘optional pronoun’ badges as an ‘ally for change’ in the workplace.(2)  We have plenty of caselaw to consider, first of all, the Court of Appeal has found a direct offer of payment by an employer when collective bargaining was still in progress amounted to an unlawful incentive.(3)  We also look at the impact of the Stuart Delivery Ltd ruling by the court of appeal who considered whether the couriers were actually independent contractors.(4) We have an update on the recent court of appeal case Harpur Trust v Brazel(5)  Then there’s the EAT decision Kong v Gulf International Bank which assessed whether there can be grounds for fair dismissal for making a ‘protected disclosure’.(6) We also have the case of a six foot man ridiculed for being in a ‘stand-off’ with his considerably smaller pregnant line manager.  On that occasion, the misplaced ridicule cost the employer £47,690.61.(7)  

 

The issue of remote working and what the UK workforce thinks has featured highly in news circles recently.  Apparently, the overall perception is a preference for hybrid-working.(8) A Unispace study has revealed 67% of workers would rather work from home.(9)  Research conducted by Reed suggests that as many as a third of workers would even rather take a pay cut than return to the old stale timbers of, ‘the Office’.(10)  Finally on this subject, Catherine Mann, a monetary committee member of the Bank of England was roundly set-upon for suggesting that women’s career progression suffers through remote working.(11) How dare she! 

 

We now look at a collection of TUC articles.  The first declares that 40% of disabled workers have faced hardship during the pandemic.(12)  The TUC also present a grim assessment of the stagnant GDP statistics released last week by central government.(13)  The other TUC articles this week look at various aspects of the complete failure of the COP26 Conference to achieve anything approaching meaningful.  The first of these four looks at the importance of cutting carbon emissions.(14)   The next article assesses the importance of trade unions in meeting environmental targets,(15) the third provides a crib sheet of the key ‘takeaways’ from the conference.  As you can imagine, it’s not a long article.(16)    

 

But we finish this week with 2 articles from ITV1, the first looks at moves to make it ‘illegal’ for an employer to contact its sick employees whilst they are off work ill.(17)  Last but not least, as we head into the winter flu season an estimated 70,000 frontline NHS workers have yet to be vaccinated.(18)   That should be enough to frighten the life out of any thinking person. 

         

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