Thursday, May 08, 2008

Putting an end to vulnerable employment

If the Government wants a way to get unions back on side they could start by tackling the issues raised in the TUC's latest report Hard Work, Hidden Lives. The report is the culmination of the work of the Commission on Vulnerable Employment - and a powerful indictment of what is happening in too many workplaces.

I went to the launch last night with Michelle Stanistreet who helped put together material for the union's submission while she was President.

This morning we've issued a statement welcoming its findings which took on board some of the concerns we raised - particularly about bogus self-employment - the practice of denying casuals and others their employment rights by pretending they are freelances so they get all the disadvantages and none of the tax advantages.

But we shouldn't expect rapid action. Alastair Darling who spoke at the launch said he was aware of the problems but could offer no real hope of any solutions in an uninspiring speech.

Before heading off to the launch I took part in the shortlisting for the NUJ's Irish Organiser vacancy and sent letters to management at Trinity Mirror in Merseyside accepting the new pay offer and to our sister union in Canada.

On the Tuesday afternoon I'd been called back to the ACAS talks about The Guardian/Observer after we got caught up on negotiating one aspect of the new Disciplinary and Grievance procedures. It took three hours but we got there again - and now it looks like 16 months of negotiations are just about at an end!

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