TUC launches newsletter to raise awareness of basic employment rights

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date: 19 January 2011

embargo: 00.01hrs 20 January 2011

The TUC has today (Thursday) published the first in a series of newsletters to help vulnerable workers, and the union members who protect them in the workplace, find out more about their basic employment rights at work.

Vulnerable workers include temporary, low-paid and part-time workers. They can suffer because they do not know their rights at work, and it can be difficult to move from insecure work into better paid permanent jobs. They can struggle to get their rights enforced and often fall through gaps in employment law, which means they do not enjoy decent minimum standards at work.

Enforcing Minimum Workplace Rights and Bargaining for More is published by the TUC's Union Modernisation Fund (UMF) Vulnerable Workers Project (VWP) and contains information for vulnerable workers and union reps about how to secure the national minimum wage (NMW), and an update on new equal treatment rights for agency workers which will apply from October 2011.

There are also some practical tips for union reps looking to engage with workers on temporary contracts.

In February, the VWP will launch a new website outlining the basic employment rights for different categories of vulnerable workers. Further information will be available about rights at work, and how union reps can use enforcement bodies to protect these rights.

TUC Deputy General Secretary Frances O'Grady said: 'Vulnerable workers often find themselves working excessively long hours, sometimes with no contract of employment. Their work can be insecure and they are regularly paid below the minimum wage.

'Unions have a successful track record in stopping rogue employers from exploiting vulnerable workers. This newsletter gives union reps some practical tips to deliver support for vulnerable workers and help them secure a fair deal at work.'

NOTES TO EDITORS:

- The VWP newsletter is available at www.unionlearn.org.uk/extras/newsletter_final.pdf

- The second edition of the VWP newsletter will be available in April 2011. Articles will include some practical tips for union reps on involving community organisations in campaigns, and more advice on how to engage with and protect the rights of vulnerable workers.

- The UMF aims to:

provide tailored support to unions seeking to improve engagement with vulnerable workers via training and better information-sharing;

develop new skills in promoting and protecting the rights of vulnerable workers and integrating their needs into negotiations with employers;

develop new resources for unions (specifically regarding informal, agency, younger and casual workers);

encourage closer working between unions and enforcement agencies; and

pilot new ways of supporting unions in the regions.

For more information please visit www.tuc.org.uk/union/tuc-17545-f0.cfm

- All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk

- Register for the TUC's press extranet: a service exclusive to journalists wanting to access pre-embargo releases and reports from the TUC. Visit www.tuc.org.uk/pressextranet

Contacts:

Media enquiries:
Liz Chinchen T: 020 7467 1248 M: 07778 158175 E: [email protected]
Rob Holdsworth T: 020 7467 1372 M: 07717 531150 E: [email protected]
Elly Gibson T: 020 7467 1337 M: 07900 910624 E: [email protected]

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