The Law in 4: Employment and Immigration news

The Trades Congress Union strikes back against new anti-strike laws

Have the public sector strikes gone too far? Or are they the only way to ensure fairness for a workforce who are faced with today’s cost of living crisis?

This debate has been a prominent topic in the UK, particularly following the Government’s controversial new legislation: Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Act 2023. The Act was passed in an attempt to combat the surge of strikes in the public sector, allowing for the enforcement of minimum service levels by employers.

This has sparked outrage amongst workers. Not only is the ability to strike a fundamental British right, but when living with the UK’s current social and economic climate it becomes increasingly crucial. As a result, the Trades Union Congress has declared that the law will be ‘vigorously opposed’, announcing a strategy of non-compliance in an attempt to make it unworkable.

Such drastic responses prompt the question: has the new legislation merely aggravated the situation further, making it even harder for workers to receive higher pay and better working conditions, or has the government achieved an appropriate balance between the rights of workers and the needs of the public?


A promising future for workers: Tesco’s latest family-friendly policies

Tesco has taken the first step towards a more supportive environment for workers. They have adopted significant changes with regard to their family policies, placing a heavy focus on the importance of their colleagues’ well-being and work-life balance.

Amongst the various new policies, allowing for improved maternity leave, adoption leave and neonatal leave, Tesco has introduced a kinship leave policy, allowing employees up to 26 weeks of kinship leave on full pay. This will allow those who have had to face a major life change and take on extra responsibilities to focus on their needs, taking comfort in the fact that they will still have a job when they get back.

So, will the rest of the UK’s supermarket and retail chains follow in Tesco’s footsteps?

Being the first company to introduce such policies, we can only hope that Tesco has paved the way. After all, establishing a supportive culture in the workplace is vital for the smooth and successful operation of a company.


Workers obtain the right to request more predictable working patterns

Tesco’s focus on workers’ wellbeing is not the only good news for UK employees this month!

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023, ensuring that temporary and agency workers the right to request more predictable hours, has obtained Royal Assent.

Whilst the law allows for the ‘right to request’, as opposed to an outright right, it will nonetheless offer significant benefits for employees. Encouraging people, particularly those over 50, back to work, offering security to those who may be struggling with the cost of living and allowing workers to feel more comfortable talking with their employers about working patterns are just some examples of the improvements this law can offer.

The current focus around well-being offers a promising future for workers, as we are headed towards a more employee-focused working culture.


Flexible working hours: Should non-office workers also have a say in their working patterns?

It is expected that non-office workers face restrictions on the flexibility of their jobs, with regard to location and hours. However, researchers have been looking into some of the ways in which they can receive similar benefits to office workers.

After all, non-office workers need some perks too!

Whilst it is often simply not feasible to offer everyone the level of flexibility that office workers receive, due to increased costs, extra resources and a possible need for more staff, there may be other ways in which employee experience can be improved.

Examples may include investment in long-term development and career opportunities employees, offering potential apprentices or training programmes, or perhaps even offering healthcare benefits, particularly for those involved in manual labour.