TUC conference round-up: what employers can expect

The TUC will call for improvements to statutory redundancy pay, action against the employment of BNP members in public services and the early implementation of the Agency Workers Directive, at its annual conference next week.

The 141st annual conference, to be held in Liverpool between 14 and 17 September, will be attended by representatives of the major UK unions and will urge government action on employment issues affecting both the public and private sectors.

Following the government’s Budget announcement in April that statutory redundancy pay would be increased from £350 to £380 a week, the TUC will now call for this to be extended further, making it comparable to average earnings: official figures show the average weekly wage in the second quarter of 2009 was £444.

The umbrella group for UK unions will also urge the government to cut the two-year qualifying period for statutory redundancy pay, making it available from day one of employment. But appreciating that the government would be unlikely to accept this proposal, the body is expected to say “even a reduction in the qualifying period to one year would benefit thousands of workers”.

To provide agency workers with increased employment rights the TUC will also use the annual conference to call for the early implementation of the Agency Workers Directive in spring 2010 – but employer groups have warned that early implementation could jeopardise the economy’s recovery from the recession, while HR directors told Personnel Today that they would seek ways to boycott the directive to save costs.

The unions’ body will also push for greater restrictions to be placed on the employment of members of the British National Party (BNP) within the public sector. Currently BNP members are banned from working in the police and prison services and the TUC will suggest this ban should be extended to cover employment in all public services.

Meanwhile it will reiterate its calls for a maximum working temperature of 25°C  to be introduced and for employers that insist that female staff wear high heeled shoes re-examine their policies.

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