Employment Rights

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2007 National Delegate Conference
20 February 2007
Carried as Amended

Conference welcomes the new individual employment rights for 2007 but believes that there needs to be a fresh push for an increase in collective trade union rights.

In particular, Conference notes the extension of the Information and Consultation of Employees (ICE) regulations for undertaking with greater than 100 employees and the following parts of the Work and Families Bill coming into force in April 2007:

1)the extension of the period of maternity and adoption pay from 26 weeks to 39 weeks;

2)the entitlement for those qualified for ordinary maternity leave to qualify for additional maternity leave which means that all women will be able to take 12 months’ leave;

3)notice of early return from maternity leave will be extended from four weeks to eight weeks;

4)keeping in touch days will be introduced which allows women on maternity leave to work for a certain number of days without losing their entitlement to statutory maternity pay;

5)the creation of a new right for partners to take up to 26 weeks’ additional paternity/maternity support leave, if the mother has returned to work before her maternity leave has expired, in addition to the current two weeks’ paternity/maternity support leave available to partners;

6)the extension of the right to request flexible working arrangements to employees caring for sick or disabled adult dependants.

However, whilst the employment rights provisions of the Warwick Agreement with the Labour Party are welcome, Conference is pleased to note the growing support in the union movement for the Trades Union Freedom Bill on the centenary of the 1906 Trades Dispute Act and the United Kingdom to comply with International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.

Conference reaffirms its support for the principles underlying the Bill:

a)better protection for striking workers;

b)simpler and fairer industrial action balloting and notice procedure;

c)restricted use of injunctions by employers;

d)allowing solidarity action in certain circumstances;

e)preventing the use of replacement labour during strikes.

Conference therefore resolves to continue to make use of the new legislation in 2007 for negotiating and organising and to continue to support the campaign for a Trades Union Freedom Bill in both 2007 and 2008.