Taylor Review On Modern Employment Practices

Mathew Taylor, CEO of the Royal Society Of Arts

Mathew Taylor, CEO of the Royal Society Of Arts

A review lead by Mathew Taylor, chief executive of the Royal Society for the Arts on “modern employment practices” is to look into the impact of changes to the labour market.

The review would is to address questions on issues such as job security, wage levels and employees’ rights.

The Taylor review will undertake a regional tour of the UK, where Taylor will meet with employees and employers to “discuss their concerns” about the labour market.

The panel consists of Paul Broadbent, chief executive of the Gangmasters Licensing Authority; employment lawyer Diane Nicol; and Greg Marsh, who founded home letting company onefinestay. The review will last six-months.

Taylor said: “We have a lot of research and policy to discuss, but the most important part of our process is getting out and about to talk to businesses and workers across Britain about their experiences of modern work.

“As well as making specific recommendations I hope the review will promote a national conversation and explore how we can all contribute to work that provides opportunity, fairness and dignity.”

He pointed to recent Office for National Statistics data, which suggested that around 15% of those working in the UK’s labour market are self-employed, as well as a rise in short-term casual labour and the availability of apps through which employers can source workers and vice versa.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner called on the government to get its act together. “Not only is the gig economy a gross and blatant attack on workers’ rights, it is also eating away at our public finances by allowing large companies to get out of paying their fair share to society,” he said.

“The government needs to overhaul a rotten system that allows unscrupulous bosses to maximise profits by cheating employees of their statutory entitlements and spending tens of thousands of tax deductible pounds to minimise their tax bill to the nation.

“If they’re serious about tackling wage and tax theft they can start by supporting strong, effective trade unions and providing the framework for sectoral collective bargaining, ensuring that every worker gets their fair share of the wealth they create and by properly resourcing and updating the tax system to ensure it’s fit for purpose to deal with a modern digital economy.”

The review has been welcomed by the TUCs Frances O’Grady. However, the lack of high profile union involvement and representation (it will be intresting to see whether unions such as Unite and GMB will be consulted) Unions will be watching to see what actually comes out of Taylor’s review in the way of specific proposals to end the exploitation given a high media profile this year  – notably the to the publicity generated by Sports Direct and the GMB Uber Employment Tribunal and other ‘gig economy’ or ‘platform’ workers such Deliveroo.

CTUF will be updating supporters as and when we get information on developments.

 

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Airbus 8 Commission Hearings

maxresdefault-6-768x432Resumption of the Activities of the International Commission for the Defence of Workers Prosecuted for Going on Strike and the Repeal of Article 315.3 of the Penal Code.

Meeting report of the Commission, 7th October, at the Lawyers’ Centre of Atocha, Madrid

Madrid, 5th November 2016

Last 7th October, this Commission met at the prestigious Lawyers’ Centre of Atocha, Madrid, in the presence of Gérard Bauvert, secretary of the International Committee Against Repression (CICR). Fifteen comrades, among whom were unionists prosecuted for going on strike and lawyers of Workers’ Commissions (CCOO) and the UGT, met to inform themselves and act jointly in favour of union freedoms in our country and in defence of the hundreds of workers prosecuted for going on strike. Other comrades, who had actively participated in meetings organised by this commission and had shown interest in knowing the decisions it adopts and continuing its activity, were unable to attend.

The fundamental motivation of this commission is to obtain the repeal of article 315.3 of the Penal Code and to thus obtain the annulation of all the legal proceedings against the hundreds of workers and unionists prosecuted for going on strike. Consequently, we would like to contribute to creating the indispensable unity of political and union organisations who uphold the interests of workers so that they organise the mobilisation and necessary actions permitting the repeal article 315.3. Obviously, there is now a majority in the Congress of Deputies which can and must make it a reality.

The workers’ movement has known an important initial victory in the mobilisation initiated by the CCOO and the UGT concerning the judgement of the Airbus 8, who were finally acquitted at their trial. However, the emergency remains, a large part of the proceedings go forward and there are several cases where the accusations have been upheld by the public prosecutor, with the demands for imprisonment, which find themselves awaiting hearing. For example, the condemnation to hard prison of six workers and unionists were upheld, which find themselves waiting for a pardon. In other cases, there also acquittals and dismissals but also severe condemnations in the form of financial sanctions.

The contribution of this commission has been to bring the international solidarity of organisations and militants from 18 countries, who addressed themselves to Spanish embassies and our government, to demand that the proceedings for going on strike be annulled and that article 315.3 be repealed. This contribution, made possible thanks to the Cicr, has been made available to our union confederations, the UGT ant the CCOO and to the campaign “A Strike is not a Crime”, and expressed itself in two demonstrations which we organised in Madrid 20th November and 5th February, as well as in other demonstrations which took place in Barcelona, Seville and Valencia.

Two days before this meeting, 5th October, a large gathering organised by the CCOO took place in front of the Móstoles tribunal, where proceedings were scheduled against Juan Carlos Asenjo, president of the Coca-Cola Factory Committee in Fuenlabrada (Madrid). This hearing didn’t take place and was postponed because several agents supporting the act of accusation against Juan Carlos were not present. Asenjo is prosecuted for having participated in a picket in his factory during the general strike against the reform of the Labour Code by Partido Popular (PP, Rajoy) in 2012 and is faced with three years of prison. Gérard Bauvert of the CICR participated in the Coca-Cola gathering and was able to show his support for Asenjo and the other leaders of the CCOO.

The same day as the Asenjo judgement, a new non-legislative motion which considers that 315.3 must be repealed was approved in the Employment Commission of the Congress of Deputies at the initiative of the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC, Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya), which is the object of a deal with the PSOE and which was supported by the Unidos Podemos, PNV (Basque Nationalist Party) and other groups against the votes of the PP. However, it is now time, with a new government, that a bill eliminating point 3 of article 315 of the Penal Code must be approved to thus end the legal proceedings.

At this very moment, we have new proceedings against workers and unionists for having taken part in strike actions. 4th November, that of Ricardo Vercher, member of the Enterprise Committee of the Barcelona Metro for the CCOO, faced with 5 years and a day of prison for the events which happened during the general strike against the reform of the Labour Code in 2012. In this very case, the principal infraction is stipulated in point 3 of article 315.

In the meeting, a communication indicated that CCOO unionists of the Madrid Metro were preparing demonstrations of solidarity with their prosecuted comrades at the Barcelona Metro (concretely, a resolution of the workers’ council of the metro and a delegation from Madrid who showed up at the trial); they are currently elaborating a contribution concerning the minimum service decree of 1977 and the implied limits imposed on the exercise of the right to strike.

At the end of November, Pedro Galeano, worker for the municipality of Coslada in Madrid, is also ordered to appear. At first, the public prosecutor asked for three years of prison, later reducing his demand to 9 months, for the accusation of pressure on other personnel during a picket during the general strike of 29th March 2012.

The status of the recourse presented to the European Tribunals after the condemnation of UGT unionists at Asturias and the continuation of the judicial battle concerning several proceedings relating to the mobilisation of miners were also explained at the meeting.

We also spoke of the situation of other workers prosecuted and condemned for having participated in mobilisations in defence of workers, accused in the name of the gag law or for other crimes habitually associated with all these cases in which the prosecutors action take precedent and, above all, the agents of order benefit from the presumption of veracity in the realisation of complaints against workers or unionists during the mobilisations.

In particular, the Andrés Bódalo affair was addressed. This SAT (Andalusian Workers Trade Union) unionist and municipal councillor for the city of Jaén, condemned to 3.5 years of prison and already imprisoned 7 months, is accused of an aggression that he didn’t commit, as would have been shown by video recordings realised by the forces of order themselves which the judge, however, found inconvenient to take into account at the trial. We spoke of the possibility of helping him in his demand for a pardon. 4 November, Bódalo undertook a hunger strike to denounce his treatment in prison.

At the meeting, it was mentioned that the following day a meeting of the CCOO would take place in the Marcelino Camacho auditorium, in Madrid, where Georgina Cisquella’s documentary on the struggle of the Coca-Cola workers would be projected.

Also, information was shared on the elaboration of the documentary “No solo ocho” (They aren’t only 8), by Pablo Roldán, on the struggle of the Airbus 8, of which he will show the steadfastness and engagement, as well as their acquittal, in the combat for the repeal of 315.3 and the annulation of all the proceedings for going on strike in Spain. In the meeting, it was decided to contribute to making known the campaign of support and crowdfunding to finance the work of the editing of the film “No solo ocho”.

  • At the meeting on the 7, it was decided:
  • To create an informational bulletin on the current situation to continue to inform all the organisations in 18 countries who have shown solidarity with this campaign.
  • To have regular meetings of the commission, approximately every month, to create a permanent blog, to open social networks and to prepare new public demonstrations.
  • To establish an inventory of the cases of proceedings for going on strike and mobilisation.
  • To stay informed of the situation of the bills presented in the Congress of Deputies by several parliamentary groups to repeal 315.3 and thus annul the proceedings for going on strike.

At the end of the month of November, the commission will meet again in Madrid.

Pablo Garcia-Cano

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Hammond Dumps Osborne’s “Shares For Rights” Policy

Osborne's Flagship Policy Dumped By Hammond.

Osborne’s Flagship Policy Dumped By Hammond.

One of the Tories most peculiar policies was his decision to give tax breaks to workers who agreed to forfeit some of their employment rights. It was described as one of George Osborne’s flagship policies at the time.

The idea was roundly ridiculed by lawyers, industrial relations experts, trade unions who all thought it was barmy idea – but Osborne liked it because it allowed him to show Tory rightwingers that he had not completely ignored the regulation-slashing proposals in the infamous Beecroft report.

It proved to be a total flop as there was little interest shown by employers and employees.

“The tax advantages linked to shares awarded under ESS [employee shareholder status] will be abolished for arrangements entered into on, or after, 1 December 2016. The status itself will be closed to new arrangements at the next legislative opportunity. This is in response to evidence suggesting that the status is primarily being used for tax planning instead of supporting a more flexible workforce”.

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Support Korean General Strike For Workers’ Rights!

montage1Struggling against the government’s attacks on labour rights, unions in South Korean are holding a general strike for workers’ rights on 30th November. Global Union IndustriALL is calling for global days of action to support the unions’ fight. 

Korean unions are struggling against a government crackdown on labour rights. The administration of South Korean President Park oversaw police raids of trade unions’ offices and the arrest of hundreds of peaceful trade unionists.

Park has attempted to make changes to Korean labour law that include permitting firing without due process, cutting wages for senior employees and allowing more outsourcing.

The Park government has been implicated in a scandal in which major Korean corporations paid bribes to foundations controlled by an ally of Park in exchange for support for anti-labour policies and other favors.

As part of an ongoing fight back that recently included one million Koreans marching through Seoul, Korean unions have called a general strike for 30th November.

Join in the global days of action to support the Korean unions between now and 30th November by:

  • Sending a protest letter. Put it on your union’s letterhead, insert your union’s name in the first sentence, add a signature and send it to the email addresses listed at the top of the letter.
  • Taking selfies with the solidarity sign (links to the right) and post them online with hashtag #KoreaGeneralStrike and send them to press@industriall-union.org to share.
  • Holding an action at a Korean embassy or consulate or at a location of one of the anti-labour, corrupt Korean corporations such as Hyundai, LG, Posco or Samsung. You could deliver a protest letter to the embassy, consulate or management. Make sure to send pics or video of the action to press@industriall-union.org to share.

IndustriALL Global Union general secretary Valter Sanches, who recently visited Korea on a solidarity mission, says: “I urge you to support this general strike by participating in the global days of action and show the Korean government the strength of global solidarity”.

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Uber: More Legal Claims Planned

maxresdefaultUber is now facing hundreds of legal claims from taxi drivers who believe they have been wrongly classed as self-employed and are owed backdated holiday pay and missing wages following the recent Employment Tribunal decision which said that Uber drivers workers should receive the minimum wage, holiday pay and sick pay.

Nineteen drivers lodged claims and two were selected as test cases. Uber is expected to issue proceedings at the court of appeal this month or next.

“We have received hundreds of inquiries from Uber drivers who are unhappy with their working conditions and are interested in bringing a claim for back pay of holiday pay and back pay of the national minimum wage,” said Annie Powell, employment lawyer at Leigh Day solicitors.

“We will lodge further employment tribunal claims with the support of the GMB union. It will be exactly the same claim as for the first 19 drivers and we will argue they should be workers rather than self-employed and so should be entitled to workers’ rights.”

Powell said there was no limit to the number of cases it could run. The firm had pursued class actions with over a thousand claimants in other matters.

Uber has 40,000 drivers in the UK, but the company insists that according to its own survey, three-quarters of its drivers feel that “being self-employed and being able to choose their own hours is preferable to having things like holiday pay which come with being employed”. Uber argues it does not employ the drivers and that while it charges commission on each fare, the contract is between the driver and passenger.

The tribunal judges dismissed as “faintly ridiculous” Uber’s claim that its London operation was essentially made up of thousands of small businesses linked by a technology platform. Uber resorted to “fictions, twisted language and even brand new terminology” to portray their drivers as self-employed, they said, and ruled that it was “unreal to deny that Uber is in business as a supplier of transportation services”.

“Simple common sense argues to the contrary,” the tribunal ruled.

Steve Garelick, secretary of the professional drivers branch of the GMB union, said the new claims were evidence that “drivers have finally realised they have a voice”. He said the GMB has received hundreds of calls from Uber drivers seeking advice or support in making a claim.

Uber says it will appeal against the orignal ET decision.

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‘Incomplete And Outdated’ : EU- Ghana Trade Agreement

by Jude Kirton Darling

eu-ghanaThe EU’s trade deal with Ghana may not have made headlines, but it threatens to undermine the Sustainable Development Goals and West African economic integration, writes Jude Kirton-Darling.

While all trade campaigners, officials and policy-makers have turned their attention to Namur and the CETA talks, another item on the EU’s agenda is progressing virtually unnoticed: a trade deal with Ghana known as the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA). If accepted, this “incomplete and outdated” deal (to quote rapporteur Christofer Fjellner’s draft report) could mark the end of a ten-year negotiation for a region-to-region EU-ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreement with West Africa, threaten a nascent regional currency union and undermine prospects for a progressive EU development-focused trade agenda. In its meeting on 9-10 November, the European Parliament’s international trade committee will take a decision on the ratification of this deal.

Ghana signed the interim EPA in November 2008 but only ratified it in September 2016, following the coercive adoption by the Commission of a delegated act before the summer to remove the country from the list of duty-free/quota-free beneficiaries under the Markets Access Regulation. Alternatives to this retrograde step exist and have generated much debate in Ghana and the region, such as extending coverage of the Market Access Regulation or including the more favourable terms of the ECOWAS EPA in the outdated iEPA. But these have been rebuffed, despite the reality that both alternatives would offer more favourable terms and promote regional integration, of which Ghana has been an avid advocate in the region.

Resorting to such tactics can only be damaging to Europe’s standing in the world. The EU was founded as an alternative to the use of brute force in international relations. Its history is intertwined with that of decolonisation. Progressives are rightly outraged, and Socialists and Democrats (S&D) MEPs “firmly reject[ed] the use of coercion or threat to remove market access in [the EPA] ratification process” in June 2016 when setting out our vision for EU-African relations. Supporting the iEPA validates the use of this method, which alone should be enough to reject the deal. Sometimes, it is important to say, “not in our name”.

But as parliamentarians, we must evaluate the agreement on its merits and in this respect there are other good reasons to reject what is widely recognised to be a poor deal. For S&D group MEPs, regional integration and sustainable development have always been the guiding principles for Economic Partnership Agreements. The Ghana iEPA fails both tests.

As stated, the interim EPA could hinder Western Africa’s regional integration process, which the EU rhetorically supports, by introducing different tariff-reduction rules, origin rules and standstill clauses for Ghana compared to a regional EPA or the EU’s concluded iEPA with Ivory Coast, effectively creating distortions in a nascent currency union. Ghana has been an avid advocate of regional integration and progressive force in the region but the ECOWAS EPA still needs three signatures from Nigeria, the Gambia and Mauritania before ratification can take place. Forcing the hand of the Ghanaian government, naturally keen to maintain the market access of their export industries, deals a blow to the prospect of a regional agreement and the implications for intra-regional trade. As many policy-makers have found in the past, there is often nothing more permanent than a temporary solution, particularly when leverage for a better permanent solution is discarded.

Secondly, the iEPA says nothing about human rights or sustainable development and makes no mention of civil society’s role or involvement. Although weak, the regional EPA is at least linked to the Cotonou agreement. This is no judgement on the current government of Ghana or its work to improve sustainable development at home and abroad. However, long experience shows that sustainable development suffers without specific provisions in trade deals. Moreover, it suggests that the EU’s liberalisation agenda for Ghana could undermine the Sustainable Development Goals, of which both Ghana and the EU have been keen advocates.

Responsible lawmakers should be concerned with the alternative. The Commission argues that there is no alternative to this deal. That shows a clear lack of imagination and goodwill. Ghana has ratified the iEPA and this means that legally it can keep its market access under EU law (MAR Article 3) regardless of the European Parliament’s position. This could be challenged at the WTO, but the EU could always ask for – and would obtain – a waiver. Such a waiver, which allows countries to derogate from WTO rules in certain circumstances with the agreement of all other WTO members, was in place until 2007. The US still has one for its own trade preference regime with sub-Saharan African countries, and just last November secured the renewal of the waiver until 2025. Such a waiver would allow the space and leverage to achieve the regional EPA and if there remains little appetite in Nigeria, would allow time to negotiate a proper relationship with Ghana and potentially Ivory Coast based on a fairer, development-focused economic partnership.

Other trade negotiations are dominating the political debate, but our economic relations with Africa deserve proper time, attention and scrutiny as we manage shifting geopolitical plates and as new economic powers rise.

Jude Kirton-Darling is a UK Labour Party MEP for North East England – orignally published on EurActive.com

 

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CETA: ISDS Clauses Still Being Written

images-1According to reports from the Office of Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland Canada and the European Union have still not nailed downthe investor-state court system (ISDS Clauses) in the recently signed CETA-EU trade deal.

The investment court, which would allow Canadian companies to sue EU governments government if they felt they had been treated unfairly – and vice-versa, were one of the issues Belgium’s Wallonia region initially voted down CETA.

Ms. Freeland rejected any re-negotiation  of the CETA text during talks with the Walloons and the EU last week. The Belgians eventually agreed on a political document that mostly reaffirmed and clarified what was already in the deal, apart from a promise to ask the European Court of Justice to pass judgment on the constitutionality of the investment court.

Ms. Freeland’s spokesperson, said the Canadian government is working with the EU on further refinement to the investment court system: “The system in CETA was negotiated to allow it to be further developed. It is something we are continuing to build with our European partners,” was the comment from Freeland’s office.

Ms. Freeland herself said that the investment court system had been “left very open” when the CETA was finalised, after she was asked whether she thought the investment court would ever be brought into force by EU member states. “We knew that we were doing some new and important things in dispute settlement, introducing really a new, progressive way of doing it. And we were very aware that Canada and Europe would need to work together to finalise the details of that, to finalise how that would look. And that’s a process that we are now very much beginning to be engaged with Europe on,” she said.

The investment court system is one of the few areas of the CETA deal that will not come into force provisionally if the European Parliament approves the deal in a vote  in December. That means it will be left to the national, and some regional, governments of each member state in the EU to decide whether they approve of the investment court, and other parts of the deal that won’t come into effect provisionally.

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Orgreave: Campaigners Mislead By Rudd

orgreaveDespite leading campaigners to believe an enquiry into the events at Orgreave in 1984 where striking miners were brutally beaten and attacked by members of the South Yorkshire police force Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, today rejected the possibility of an inquiry into the events at Orgreave.

The decision is a bitter blow to former miners and campaigners who hoped an inquiry  (which they were lead by the Prime Minister to believe would happen – even in a limted form) would establish links between the misconduct by the South Yorkshire police during the Hillsborough disaster and their behaviour five years earlier at Orgreave.

Rudd ruled out any inquiry, saying very few lessons for the policing system of today could be learned from any review of events 30 years ago.

Campaigners, Unions and Labour MPs, who had been encouraged to expect some form of inquiry, even in a limited form, said they were shocked at the decision.

The Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign supporters were in the Commons public gallery to hear the announcement.

Barbara Jackson, secretary of campaign, said the announcement had come as a “complete shock and a great disappointment” and the decision meant there would be “no transparency, no accountability, no truth and no justice”.

She said: “It’s a complete and utter shock to us that we are getting nothing after campaigning for four years. So it’s OK that you get beaten up and seriously injured, but so long as you don’t die the police don’t have to be held accountable,” she said in reference to Rudd’s rejection of the inquiry on the grounds that Orgreave had involved no deaths or wrongful convictions.

The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said: “It is a grave injustice that there will be no statutory inquiry into the battle of Orgreave.”

The South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, Dr Alan Billings, shared her concern. He said: “The former miners and their families deserved to know the truth about what happened that day. I am therefore shocked and dismayed by this decision. The government have marched the Campaign for Truth and Justice to the top of the hill only to march them down again.”

He said he was unconvinced by the reasons given for refusing an investigation: “No one has ever suggested that the events of Orgreave were comparable in every respect to the disaster at Hillsborough. But the former miners and the former mining communities in South Yorkshire deserve an explanation as to what happened on that day, and where Orgreave fits in the wider story of the miners’ strike. I believe the government has shied away from agreeing an inquiry because of those wider issues.”

Andy Burnham, the former shadow home secretary who campaigned for an inquiry into both Orgreave and Hillsborough, said the Independent Police Complaints Commission had found evidence of perjury and perversion of the course of justice, and that new evidence had recently been put forward of orchestrated police violence and manufactured court statements. “This establishment stitch-up is a purely political act.”

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, said that the message sent out today was “that corruption has a place to hide. Justice has been delayed, but we will not let it be denied,” she said.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “Amber Rudd’s shameful refusal to hold an inquiry into Orgreave smacks of a continued cover-up by the establishment. It will be a bitter blow to those who seek the truth and justice, to those to whom her government gave false hope.

“The brutal actions of South Yorkshire police at Orgreave, the subsequent cover-up and the injustice to ordinary working men and women cannot go unanswered. For this stain on the national history to be scrubbed away, the families deserve nothing less that the scrutiny eventually provided to the Hillsborough families. 

“Amber Rudd had an opportunity to help to get answers, to back Labour’s commitment to an independent inquiry, instead she has betrayed the hopes of those whose lives have been scarred by Orgreave and slammed the door on the truth.

“The home secretary will learn the hard way that working class families do not give up on justice this easily. The fight for the truth will go on.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he was “absolutely astonished” that Home Secretary Amber Rudd had decided against an inquiry after Theresa May had indicated to him that she was moving towards the position. Corbyn said that Labour is committed to holding a “full inquiry”.

“What happened in Orgreave was dreadful,” Corbyn said. “What happened in Orgreave was terrible. What happened in Orgreave damaged the lives of  those families who were wrongly accused of things they did not do.”

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Uber Judgement – “A Monumental Victory”

private-hire-a7506026By Tony Burke, Chair, Campaign For Trade Union Freedom

A London tribunal has ruled today that Uber drivers are entitled to basic workers’ rights. This is a landmark legal case. The action was brought by the GMB union and legal firm Leigh Day.

Nigel Mackay, employment lawyer at Leigh Day, said: “We are delighted that the employment tribunal has found in favour of our clients. This judgement acknowledges the central contribution that Uber’s drivers have made to Uber’s success by confirming that its drivers are not self-employed but that they work for Uber part of the company’s business.”

Maria Ludkin, GMB’s legal director, called it “a monumental victory”. She said: “This loophole that has allowed unscrupulous employers to avoid employment rights, sick pay and minimum wage for their staff and costing the government millions in lost tax revenue will now be closed.”

There will now be a further hearing in the employment tribunal to calculate the holiday and pay that the drivers should receive.

Uber confirmed it would be making an appeal.

Jo Bertram, regional general manager of Uber in the UK said: “Tens of thousands of people in London drive with Uber precisely because they want to be self-employed and their own boss. The overwhelming majority of drivers who use the Uber app want to keep the freedom and flexibility of being able to drive when and where they want. While the decision of this preliminary hearing only affects two people we will be appealing it.”

Uber has to lodge an appeal within 42 days and it can only appeal on a question of law. It is anticipated it will likely be three or four months until it’s heard.

Beyond that, it could go onto the Court of Appeal and even the Supreme Court.

Uber considers its drivers self-employed “partners”, while GMB has says Uber said should “conform to employment law” and give its drivers rights such as minimum wage, mandatory breaks and paid leave.

The decision could have a massive effect on other workers and companies in the platform or gig economy.

Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the TUC Comment – click here.

GMB Press release – click here.

Follow @unionfreedom for all the main news items on the Uber decision

The key findings are set out below:

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ETUC & CLC Statement On CETA

TTIP is the abbreviation for - Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - between USA and Europe marked on rubber stamp in hand

TTIP is the abbreviation for – Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – between USA and Europe marked on rubber stamp in hand

The following statement has been issued by the European TUC and the Canadian Labour Congress on Thursday, October 27, 2016

The failure of the signature of CETA and the consequent postponement of the EU-Canada Summit show that our concerns were right and are shared by local and national politicians. The deal cannot be ratified unless the flaws in CETA are fully addressed. 

This is the result of a negotiation process that was conducted in secrecy.  We believe that this situation could have been avoided if the negotiating parties had consulted trade unions and civil society in a serious way and made negotiations more transparent right from the beginning. Only after the negotiations were finished was the complete negotiated text published – at which point we were told CETA was no longer open for debate and amendments.

Even after the new government in Canada negotiated changes to the investment dispute settlement mechanism, we were again told that CETA was not open for amendments. This radical stance changed in the past few weeks to try to accommodate the concerns of some countries, and ultimately of the Parliament of Wallonia, showing that if there is political will, there is still the opportunity to improve the Agreement.

We also take note of discussions on a joint declaration (that now seems to be called a join interpretative instrument) by the Commission and the Canadian Government, the aim of which is to help in clarifying controversial parts of the Agreement. However, it is the strong view of the ETUC and CLC that this has come too late and in a very limited time frame to be discussed properly. There has been again a lack of consultation with trade unions.

In our view, any Declaration or Instrument, to be effective and make a difference against the text of CETA, must be legally binding, having a real impact on the most controversial parts of the agreement, and fully address major concerns that the CLC and the ETUC jointly outlined months ago, notably on enforcing labour rights, fully protecting public services and public procurement, addressing environmental issues, and rejecting investors clauses.

To regain the trust of European citizens and workers, and if the European Commission and the Canadian Government sincerely want this agreement to become a good and progressive standard for trade agreements, it is time now to restart a transparent negotiating process aimed at introducing in CETA binding and enforceable provisions that can really address and resolve the concerns that ETUC and CLC have raised, including the privileged status that investors get with the Investment Court System (ICS), that stands in sharp contrast to the very mild labour standard provisions which have no enforcement mechanisms.

The ETUC and CLC ask the European Commission, the Canadian Government, and the EU Member States to open the negotiations to democratic consultation of trade unions and civil society, in order to ensure the necessary changes are introduced to address existing concerns, as a trigger for a fair and progressive agenda for trade agreements at global level.

The ETUC and CLC condemn the pressure made on Wallonian institutions, to block more democratic and transparent negotiation.

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