Employment law stories in the news – 21.09.2015 to 27.09.2015

redmans-blog-newsIn the latest of our series of posts on employment law stories in the news, we take a look at ten employment law-related stories that have made headlines between 21 September and 27 September 2015

  1. Lidl could face legal action over NI wage ‘discrimination’ – Solicitors are exploring the possibility of legal action against a major supermarket because of plans to exclude its Northern Irish workforce from a UK-wide wage rise. The Unite union said that Northern Irish staff working for Lidl are being treated as “second-class citizens”, while the DUP accused the firm of “discrimination” (Newsletter)
  2. Company sentenced after employee received electric shock – Berneslai Homes Ltd has been fined following an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive into safety standards during maintenance work of council owned domestic properties. Barnsley Magistrates Court heard that HSE investigated following an incident involving a Berneslai Homes Ltd joiner who received an electric shock while replacing a wooden garden fence around a domestic property in Barnsley on 26 November 2013 (HSE)
  3. JCB announce up to 400 redundancies in the UK – JCB workers in Rocester face an anxious wait after the company announced it was making up to 400 redundancies across its UK factories. Further global market decline has prompted the announcement, which comes around a year after 150 redundancies were made (The Burton Mail)
  4. Fake apprenticeships – crackdown planned – Young people are being lured into fake apprenticeships, only to find out later they are unqualified, say businesses and bona fide training providers. These schemes can leave students out of work, according to responses to a consultation on plans to give apprenticeships legal protection (BBC)
  5. HMRC uses new powers on contractors and freelancers: ‘I was told to pay £30,000 within 90 days’ – Thousands of contractors and freelancers have become ensnared in a £5.5bn tax grab – aimed initially at wealthy tax dodgers – that allows HM Revenue & Customs to demand backdated taxes to be paid, in full, within a three-month deadline (The Telegraph)
  6. Chemical firm in court after explosion blows hole in factory – A chemical firm has been fined after a hydrogen explosion blew a vessel lid through a factory roof, leaving a worker with minor injuries. Catalloy Ltd was prosecuted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) following the incident at its plant on Moss Bank Road in Widnes on 25 November 2011
  7. Harrods forced to pay £18,000 to ex-security guard over coffee row sacking – A former Irish Guardsman who claimed that a Harrods director and her PA launched a witch-hunt to have him sacked as a security guard after he stopped them carrying coffee through the luxury department store has been awarded £18,000 by an employment tribunal (The Guardian)
  8. UK Employer pension contributions collapse by 48% in a year – Fears have been raised that employers are slashing the amount they pay into workers’ pensions in an attempt to save money, after official figures revealed a near-50% collapse in contribution rates in 12 months (The Guardian)
  9. Labour Party Conference: Legalise Solidarity Strikes, Say Constituency Branches – A Labour government should legislate to allow ­workers to take “solidarity action” with other workplaces, ­constituency branches have said. The party’s conference is set to debate the Tory government’s Trade Union Bill in a debate on Monday, which new party leader Jeremy Corbyn has said he would repeal if elected prime minister (The Morning Star Online)
  10. BMA to ballot junior doctors on industrial action – Junior doctors in England are to be balloted on industrial action over government plans to introduce a new contract from August 2016. Critics say the new contract involves pay cuts of up to 30%, with overtime rates scrapped for work between 7am and 10pm on every day except Sunday (BBC)