British Worker No. 3

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British Worker No. 3 Powered By Docstoc
					The British Workers’ Union

Issue number 3


Our Front Cover
Both Labour and the Tories are promising cuts in Public Services. Make no mistake, this will affect frontline services and hit the poor, sick, elderly and needy hard. Whoever wins the next General Election our Unions will need to fight to defend these vital services for the community. We are getting ready? Are you?

ADAM WALKER- President Adam Walker was born and raised in County Durham. He left school at sixteen whereupon he spent five years in the Armed Forces as a Main Battle Tank Crewman. He is a qualified Design Technology teacher and has spent many years travelling the world immersing himself in other cultures. He spent six years living in Japan where he taught English and studied full contact karate. He speaks Japanese and as well as the valuable work he does for our Union he also runs his own martial arts academy. PATRICK HARRINGTON - General Secretary Patrick is a former RMT Company Council and Learner Representative. He holds a Degree in Philosophy and a PGCE(FE). He has written extensively including for publications regarding Tolkein and Catholic Social Theory. He is Director of the Third Way think-tank. He has a strong interest in Human Rights and Employment Law.

National Executive Members
GARY ARONSSON A Liverpool based Business Studies graduate and a staunch opponent of heavy-handed management. Having lived in a depressed area for many years Gary is well aware of the stark differences between New Labour promises and life in the countries 'forgotten areas'. SIMONE CLARKE A well known ex-Ballerina for the English National Ballet who has performed on TV several times. Simone now teaches dance privately. Simone has served as a representative for the Actors Union Equity. DAVID DURANT A founding member of Solidarity his main concern has been to ensure someone represents the voice of the British worker in a world of 'Globalisation'. David believes establishment Trade Unions acquiese to easily to the movement of cheap labour to and capital from the UK rather than fight it head on. He leads the National Liberal Party. MARK WALKER After six years exemplary service in the RAF (including Gulf War 1) Mark decided to pursue a career in teaching. He graduated from Sunderland University with an Honours Degree in Technology Education in 1999. He was a full time Secondary School Technology Teacher till 2008. He is currently employed by Andrew Brons MEP. DAVID KERR Long standing Union activist for over 30 years, originally with the ITGWU (once a branch chairman) and now with Solidarity whom he regards as the true inheritors of early Trade Unionism. Based in Belfast he is active in community projects and is editor of a local journal (Ulster Nation). David believes Solidarity has a great potential to represent the true interests of the British worker.

As British workers, we are living in some very difficult times. We see the continuing collapse of British industry and job losses in all sectors. I have been contacted by Public sector workers concerned at the cuts being proposed by the establishment politicians. Others have spoken to me of attempts to vary contracts in order to save employers money. Elsewhere bosses are looking for excuses to dismiss folk to save costs. Now, more than ever it is important for our workforce to have a fighting Union which will protect its members. At the moment many workers do not get decent representation and are often left to defend themselves with little or no support from their feeble, expensive unions which are often in the pockets of the workplace management. It is for this reason I believe there is a real need for Solidarity. An autonomous union which really does fight tooth and nail for the rights of its members is becoming a rare thing as many workers are finding out. Our Union signs no "partnership" deals with management. We generally send a professional representative from outside the workplace to represent you. There is no cosy relationship with management just provision of service to our member with their needs and goals central to the process. As the recession bites harder it makes sense to be part of a value for money yet effective union that will defend you in your time of need, something the establishment unions are failing to do in many cases. Our Union represents insurance against problems at work, while fires rage all around now is the time to ensure you are protected against risks.
Accentuate is a Public Relations company that exists to promote campaigning non-profit making organisations. You might be a Community or Pressure Group ignored by the media and struggling to get heard, drowned out by the noise of established organisations. We can help! Accentuate is already a consultant to the Solidarity Trade Union and would be interested to hear from you and your group. Contact us on or see our website at


Wayne Sturgeon of the magazine Alternative Green interviews a lay official of the independent Nationalist Trade Union Solidarity. This is a reprint from their original article.
1) Could you please introduce yourself and how you came to be involved with the formation of Solidarity? My name is Bill Carter. I found out about the Trade Union whilst searching the Internet. I was a member of Unison at the time but I was unhappy with the way they had handled some cases involving some of my work colleagues. I was considering leaving but didn't want to leave myself without any support. Since Solidarity is fairly new I believed it had the drive to work hard and its patriotic sentiments appealed too. 2) What is the mission of Solidarity and what makes it different from other Trade Unions? Fundamentally it has the same mission as all Unions have (or should have); namely to look after the rights of its members and the British worker in general. The Executive are keen to both consolidate the Union through representation and gradually build up the membership which it continues to do so. It is different however in a number of ways. Firstly, it believes in the 'one big union' concept i.e. that it seeks to represent all workers regardless of the industry. This can be quite challenging yet our representatives are acquiring a wider knowledge of differing industrial practises which can be very useful to all. Some Unions have agreed demarcation lines with others to protect their base of membership. Since we have no bi-lateral agreements with other unions nor part of the TUC we have no such restrictions. Secondly, Solidarity believes that 'Globalisation' has brought with it the seeds of destruction and ultimately works against the interests of the average worker. Since many large companies are owned by multinationals they are vulnerable to 'downsizing' or closure if the parent company believes they can cover their production by using some cheaper

method. Most usually this is labour costs. This results in either 'importing' cheap labour i.e. as Total were accused of doing at the Lyndsey plant in Grimsby or 'exporting' the production to 'cheaper' countries i.e. too numerous to mention. The phrase 'British jobs for British workers' has been used and abused of late but essentially we can get behind it because our members require us to protect their interests. Other Unions stand behind the phrase 'Workers of the World Unite', which has some relevance in this age of globalisation but essentially will lead to a betrayal of their members if they do not protect British jobs. Not being a left-wing union we don't fund the Labour party or get involved in non-work related political campaigns and thus save our members money from being squandered. Our constitution also restricts any officials pay to that earned by the average worker. Many Unions these days pay their executives a salary which is in line with the average company director! 3) What problems has the Union faced both internally and externally and why do you think this is/was? Since we were formed and began to actually recruit and represent members we were attacked by a variety of sources. Other Unions who saw us as rivals and left-wing Unions and politicians who saw us as heretic i.e. non-Marxist. We have also had to face criticism for supporting members who were victimised at work because of their politics, mainly alleged members of the BNP. Most other Unions (with some exceptions such as Equity) refused to help these workers. The Executive took the view that all members deserve a fair representation and that their personal politics were just that. A few of these individuals switched from their existing Union because of political bias. This no doubt brought the wrath of other such Unions upon our heads! We did have some internal problems too from a couple of old officials who wanted us to be even more political. Quite apart from the fact that we recruit from everywhere and will have many with no political affiliation whatsoever it would have turned the Union into a mere talking shop and a very narrow base of recruits. Unfortunately a combination of attacks from left and right led to bank accounts being suspended, vexatious complaints to official bodies and frankly a lot of effort expended that would have been better spent on positive Union work. I am

pleased to say however that most of the trouble has now been dealt with. 4) What effect will the EU have on workers rights and trade unions in general in the future? In general the EU supports greater workers rights than exists in the UK because we have a 'long hours' culture. Europe generally works less hours and enjoys more holiday both public and private. The EU reflects continental systems (which is one of the reasons most British Euro-sceptics oppose its diktats) and as usual is at odds with British mores. We wouldn't object to British workers improving their conditions of work, it's just a shame that a so-called Labour Government won't do so without external pressure! (indeed they have opposed improvements). That said we might expect to see European Unions collaborating or even unifying. This will be reflecting the influence of EU law although it will probably be supported by EU financial inducements. That said there is no reason why patriotic unions throughout Europe cannot co-operate without surrendering their primary purpose of protecting their own members first. 5) Is the membership of Solidarity open to everyone regardless of age, sex, race or creed, sexual orientation or political affiliation? We have no restrictions at all. We will represent all members who face discrimination or unfairness at work. Our membership covers the whole range of British life. 6) What struggles have you recently been involved in or are fighting now? As previously stated most of our work is 'bread n' butter' union representation for individual members. There were a few high-profile cases e.g. Mark Walker which was largely driven by the political bias of a public authority. The 'rotten boroughs' who only look after their 'own kind' are still alive and well in 21st century Britain. We have supported the Lyndsey Strikers since they were standing up for the principle of BJFBW. Much of our recruitment of late has been in the low-pay industries such as cleaners. This growing group of workers have been under represented in the past and bosses often ride roughshod over their rights.
Continued on Page 4


A message from our GS
There isn't really all that much difference in what Labour and the Tories are proposing on public service pay (as in so many other areas!). What difference there is, is only a matter of degree. Where Mr Darling (NuLab) announces a top-down freeze on public-sector pay, affecting around three-quarters of a million people and their families, Tory shadow chancellor George Osborne announces a topdown freeze on public-sector pay affecting everyone earning over £18,000 a year. The Labour and Tory conferences seemed to largely consist of claims as to who could make the deepest cuts! The message from both was clear:- if by some chance, you retain your job, your pension will be capped, your pay deal reneged on and your standard of living forced down. If you happen to be on benefits Tweedledum and Tweedledee are both are working on ways to make your life even harder. All this would be bad enough but we also have to put up with their bogus claim "we are all in it together" and evocation of a fake 'Blitz spirit'. We know who is being set-up to bear the brunt of this depression and it isn't the Fatcats and political class. Bank bosses are still getting their bonuses....The working class are the ones meant to bear the brunt of these cuts. Well, our Union isn't fooled. Workers must defend their rights, livelihoods and conditions. Solidarity calls for resolute action to defend jobs, conditions and services whether it is the Labour or Tory wing of the establishment attacking them. Patrick Harrington

Continued from page 3

7) On your website there is reference to the Anarcho-Syndicalist Spanish trade union the C.N.T (who were a major participant in the Spanish civil war). You also refer to Solidarity as a 'libertarian' union. What significance and inspiration does the libertarian and anarcho/syndicalist traditions have on the ideology of Solidarity?
Solidarity is not an ideological union in that it subscribes, still less expect its members, to any particular philosophy or position. Beyond supporting the rights of British workers within the context of the U.K. and our opposition to internationalist or domestic attacks upon the workforce we tend to operate within the structures as they exist. In other words whilst some in the Union might prefer worker co-operatives as a 'fairer' way of organising labour we do not seek to mobilise members to agitate for only that structure (although we would not oppose those that do). We are 'Libertarian' in that we will support the rights of all workers to a 'private' life which is independent of their workplace. For example, we oppose those who would seek to introduce political bias into the

workplace, whether from the right opposing 'left-wingers' or from the left opposing workers who happen to be in the BNP. The C.N.T operates as 'One Big Union' which we agree with. 8) Why has historically the 'right' not been associated with trade unionism in general and that trade unionism always seems associated with the 'left'? One could argue that the left was born out of the Trade Union movement and indeed many global 'Labour/socialist' parties were formed after and from within union movements. The right were seen as representing the interests of landowners and/or manufacturing interests and Unions and spin-off parties were in a reaction to that. Whilst matters and interests have become somewhat blurred in modern times the left's sympathy and the right's antipathy towards Trade Unions has remained. The impact of Marxism within Trade Unions from the 1920's of course poisoned the discourse and made otherwise potential trade unionists turn away from the Unions most heavily infiltrated thus reinforcing the view that Unions were the 'universities of left wing

labour'. There were and are Trade Unions that did not surrender the field to Marxism and Solidarity can see itself as being a part of that tradition. We certainly don't see ourselves as left or right (which many would see as a contradiction) but as a British Workers Union that can absorb differing positions. 9) Anything more you would like to say? The Union has only been active within the last two years and continues to grow. We shall be looking to recruit more heavily within certain industries this year and organise within more workplaces by next year. There are already workplaces where we represent over 50% of the workforce. 10) How can one become a member of Solidarity and get involved? Find out more? May I suggest readers go onto the website where they can read more and join. We would welcome supporters of Alternative Green becoming involved. The Union is open to all.


Each year Solidarity handles many work problems on behalf of its members. Here are a few of the most recent.

My manager is undermining me and making snide comments. What should I do? Persistent, negative, malicious attacks on personal or professional performance undermine our confidence and if left unchecked can make us ill. Step one is to recognise what is happening and realise that you are not at fault. Employers have a duty of care to all their workers and are liable for people's actions if they are taken at work or carrying out work duties. If you are being bullied, your employer needs to take the issue very seriously and have procedures to deal with it. There are several practical steps you can take:Talk to a Solidarity Rep as soon as possible or phone our contact line. Keep a written record of any incidents, including times, dates and details, the names of any witnesses, your response and your feelings. With cyber bullying, keep copies of emails and texts as it may be possible to identify who is sending them. Don't reply to offensive emails or texts Consider reporting offensive text messages or phone calls to your network provider - they may be able to trace or block them Talk to colleagues - find out whether you are the only person being bullied or if anyone else is affected in the same way. A group complaint might carry more weight. It is also important

to get support from colleagues to challenge bullying behaviour. If your workplace has harassment contact officers consider getting in touch Check whether your employer has a policy on bullying or harassment. Also, check any policies on unacceptable email use. Keep copies for your Rep. If your employer provides a welfare service or an employee assistance programme think about contacting them. Consider making a complaint. You might need to do this if the incidents are serious. Your rep will advise you. Keep your Solidarity Rep informed of any developments. I am not a Solidarity member but I have a problem at work can you help me? Solidarity is a membership organisation and is funded almost entirely from members' contributions that pay for the insurance that it provides in times of difficulty. We usually provide advice and guidance for those in trouble at work even if it is about things that happened before they became a member. In exceptional cases we may (at the discretion of the Executive) provide representation for these things. Generally, however, representation is only provided if the problem happens after you become a member. If you are not a member you should join today and insure against future problems.

I am a Part-time worker. Do I have the same rights as my full-time colleagues? You are generally entitled to the same pay conditions and benefits as a comparable full-time worker. The Part Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 give you this right to equal treatment. The Regulations apply to all workers i.e. they protect not only employees but also individuals working (or who worked) under a contract personally to perform any work or services for another party (save if the relationship was of client or customer of a profession or business undertaking). The protection applies from the first day of employment and covers all terms of the contract including (says the DTI guidance) pay rates, contractual sick pay & maternity pay; access to occupational pension schemes and training; leave (annual holidays, maternity & parental leave, career breaks); and fringe benefits such as subsidised mortgages, staff discounts and health insurance. The protection also covers detriment to which a full timer would not be subject e.g. if a full-time equivalent would be considered for promotion, so should the part-timer. And a parttimer should not be given a disciplinary warning or dismissed or selected for redundancy in circumstances in which his / her fulltime equivalent would not. Please note, however, that benefits are on a pro-rata basis. That means that the payment or benefit is reduced in proportion to the number of hours you work. For example if you work 20 hours a week and your full time colleagues work 40 hours you will get half their entitlement.

The information contained on this page is not intended as legal advice on individual cases. If you have a query about your employment rights please contact a Solidarity Rep or our central number.



there is none for these claims. The following situations and examples could give rise to a claim for direct discrimination: • A rule requires men to work in a particularly dusty ad dirty shop where women are not required to work. • A man with inferior qualifications, and/or less experience than a woman is appointed to the job or the promotion for which they both applied. • A woman is told that she would not be considered for a job because it is “dirty work” or because there is “a lack of decent toilet facilities”. • A woman who takes time off for pregnancy or maternity leave is demoted when she returns to work. • A woman is not encouraged to meet clients or invited to social events to meet them. Instead a mainly male group is. What is indirect sex discrimination? Indirect discrimination applies to policies and practices which, in reality, disadvantage one gender considerably more than another although on the face of it, they seem to apply to both sexes equally. For example, a requirement to work full time might be more of a bar for women than men. To prove indirect discrimination, Tribunals have to consider four questions: • Has the employer imposed a provision, criterion or practice? • Does it put women at a particular disadvantage when compared with men? • Does it disadvantage that woman? • Can the employer show that the provision, criterion or practice is proportionate to the aim they are trying to achieve? Employers can defend indirect discrimination, but they have to show that the provision, criterion or practice: • Can be objectively justified on grounds other than sex. • Corresponds to a real need on the part of the employer. • Is appropriate to meeting that need. • Is necessary to meet that need. Despite this clear and fairly stringent test, the courts have set out further tests, including the requirement to balance the needs of the employer and employee. These tests are not always easy to reconcile and anyone wanting to bring a claim will need specialist advice. Examples of indirect discrimination are: • Age bars, which can indirectly discriminate against women who often have taken time out from work to bring up children and therefore may acquire their qualifications later than men • Any benefit which results from length of service may work against women who have taken time out from work to bring up their children. • Mobility clauses may discriminate. Often women are less able to relocate than men because of their family commitments or a reliance on their partner’s income as the primary wage earner. • Height or weight requirements which favour men rather than women. • Work that requires unsocial hours or a requirement to work

The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) outlaws discrimination on the grounds of sex and marital status in employment, education, transport and the provision of goods and services. This article is solely concerned with the employment aspects of the SDA. Who does the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) apply to and when? The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA) applies to all discrimination in the workplace, such as, selection for a job, training, promotion, work practices, dismissal or any other disadvantage such as sexual harassment. If a worker is discriminated against in their contractual terms of employment, then the Equal Pay Act applies. The law applies equally to both men and women. Who is liable? Responsibility for sex discrimination usually lies with the employer, but if another employee or worker is found to have discriminated, then the employer may be “vicariously” liable for them as well. The employer would need to show that he took all reasonable steps to prevent the occurrence of the act (s.41 of the SDA 1975). Reasonable steps must involve some practical action and then the tribunal will consider whether there were any further steps that were reasonably practicable to take (Camliffe v East Yorkshire Council [2000]). This covers not only incidents of discrimination occurring in the actual work place, but may also extend to out of work activities such as Christmas parties and drinks in the pub after work. If the alleged discrimination is about the conduct of another employee, then it’s a good idea to name them on the Tribunal application as well as the employer. What is direct sex discrimination? Direct sex discrimination is when an employer treats a woman less favourably than a man, because of her sex or marital status. It is also direct discrimination to treat a woman less favourably because she is pregnant or has taken maternity leave. This includes a pregnancy-related illness. The employee bringing the claim has to make a comparison between how she was treated and how a man (either actual or hypothetical) would have been treated, except for cases of alleged pregnancy and maternity discrimination when a comparator is not required. It is irrelevant whether or not the employer intended to discriminate against them. Once the person has shown that the employer did discriminate against them directly, employers cannot offer a defence as


full time may work against women with child care commitments What is harassment? There are three grounds that constitute unlawful harassment under s 4A of the SDA 1975: 1. When an individual is subjected to unwanted conduct relating to their sex that has the purpose or effect of violating their dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. Even if that individual is not the butt of the unwanted conduct but feels that their dignity has been violated or that an offensive environment has been created as a result, they are also protected by the legislation. 2. When someone engages in unwanted verbal, non verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that has the purpose or effect of violating her dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. 3. When someone treats the woman less favourably because she rejected the unwanted conduct. Conduct” is only regarded as harassment when all the circumstances are taken into account (including the perception of the woman at the receiving end of it) and if it is reasonable to conclude that it could have had that effect. Examples of sexual harassment include the following: • Physical harassment. • Unwanted sexual comments or personal comments about a woman’s appearance. • Non verbal harassment such as unwanted gestures or displays of pornographic pictures. The victim does not have to demonstrate any financial or other specific loss, such as a threat of dismissal. It is enough that her working environment has become intimidating, hostile or offensive. In one case a school laboratory assistant was subjected to constant suggestive remarks and conduct by two male colleagues as part of a campaign to persuade her to leave. The Tribunal decided that the woman did not have to produce evidence of a man having been treated differently, since the treatment that she received was clearly discriminatory by reason of its sexual character. Single incidents can constitute harassment, though generally speaking, a one off incident would have to be more serious. The law also says that employers who fail to take reasonably practical steps to protect employees from harassment by someone else if they knew it had happened on at least two other occasions will be liable for those acts. What is victimisation? Some women may be deterred from exercising their rights under the SDA or from supporting others who wish to exercise their rights in case they are victimised by their employer. The Act guards against this by making it unlawful for an employer to victimise an individual because she has brought a discrimination claim, given evidence in a discrimination case or made an allegation of sex discrimination, whether it has been upheld or not (s 4 of the SDA 1975, Aziz v Trinity Street
Taxis ltd [1988]).

given evidence or had made allegations of discrimination. Employers can defend a complaint of discrimination if they can show that they took all reasonably practicable steps to prevent the discrimination occurring. It is rare for employers to succeed with this defence. But even if they do, the person who feels they have been victimised can pursue a claim against the individual employee. Are there any exceptions? There are three main circumstances when the Act does not provide protection against discrimination: • The genuine occupational qualification (GOQ). • Positive action. • Employment for the purposes of religion. Genuine occupational qualification (GOQ) Employers are allowed to discriminate under the Act when a person’s sex is a “genuine occupational qualification” (GOQ) for the job. For instance, if the job needs either a man or a woman for reasons of authenticity, perhaps for a job as an actor or a model. Or, for reasons of decency or privacy, either a man or a woman may be needed if the job involves physical contact or people may be undressing (say, in a changing room). Or the job may involve providing personal services such as rape counsellors. A GOQ exception will not apply if an employer already has enough staff of the other sex who could take on the duties of the job without too much inconvenience. Positive action Positive action means giving preferential treatment to an individual or group of people to prevent, or compensate for, past disadvantages suffered by that individual or group. It is not the same as positive discrimination, which involves treating people more favourably on grounds of sex and is unlawful. The SDA states that employers can: • provide training to people of a particular sex which would fit them for particular work if in the preceding 12 months there were none (or very few) of them doing that sort of work, or • run a discriminatory recruitment campaign to encourage members of a particular sex to apply for certain kinds of work, as long as there were none (or very few of them) doing that particular kind of work in the preceding 12 months. These measures should be aimed at encouraging people to apply or providing training for the skill required. The actual process of application cannot be discriminatory. So for example, even if an employer has few women in higher management positions and wants to change that, it is unlawful to give a woman such a position alone. In reaching a decision about who should be given a job, only the merits of the candidates can be taken into account, not their sex. Employment for the purposes of religion Sex discrimination is also lawful in relation to employment for the purposes of an organised religion, where employment is limited to one sex so as to comply with “the doctrines of the religion or to avoid offending the religious susceptibilities of a significant number of its followers.” This exemption is limited effectively to employment by religious organisations such as churches or mosques.

To succeed in a victimisation case, the person has to show that they were treated less favourably than someone who had not taken any of these steps, and that their treatment was because they had pursued a discrimination case, had


Is it easy to prove a claim? Proving sex discrimination is not straightforward. A woman complaining of discrimination has to prove, on the balance of probabilities that her employer discriminated against her on the grounds of her sex. This means that the Tribunal does not have to be certain, but they have to think it more likely than not that her treatment was on the grounds of her gender. Once an employee has established facts from which a Tribunal could conclude that there had been discrimination then the burden shifts to the employer to show that they did not discriminate against her. Not surprisingly, it is rare to find overt evidence of direct discrimination. Few employers are prepared to admit that they have discriminated against someone and those who are aware of the law may have taken steps to appear to have acted lawfully. Whether or not discrimination can be proved will often depend on what inferences a Tribunal can draw from the primary facts. It therefore helps if the claimant can produce any relevant letters or documents. In cases of sexual harassment, it is useful if the claimant makes a note of the key incidents and the dates on which they took place. Can employees serve a Questionnaire? Employees are allowed to serve a Questionnaire on their employer to obtain information or documents in order to ascertain the strength of their claim, and to establish as far as possible, what the facts are and the reasons for her treatment. This can be used by the claimant as evidence at the Tribunal. If the employer fails to reply or delays doing so or provides an inadequate response, then the Tribunal may draw an inference of discrimination from that. Serving a Questionnaire does not count as raising a formal grievance. Tribunal claims and time limits* Where the action complained of started before 6 April 2009, employees have to tell their employer in writing that they have a grievance and then wait 28 days to give them time to respond. Claimants must complain to a Tribunal within three months of the act complained of. This time limit is extended by three months, however, to allow the statutory grievance procedure to take place. Unless there are special circumstances (such as threats or continuing harassment by the employer) the employee must write to the employer raising a grievance and wait for 28 days before bringing a discrimination claim to a Tribunal. This applies even if the complaint relates to disciplinary action short of dismissal or another grievance. If they do not do that, the Tribunal will not be able to hear the claim. The grievance must be lodged within 3 months of the act complained of, in order to benefit from the limitation extension. Where the action complained of started on or after 6 April 2009, the employee should still raise a grievance but even if they do, the time limit is not extended.

There are also time limits that apply to serving the Questionnaire. If it was lodged before the Tribunal proceedings started, then it must be served on the employer within three months of the act complained of. If it was sent to the employer after the Tribunal proceedings started, then it must be sent within 21 days of the Tribunal application being lodged. If the claimant misses these time limits, they can still serve their Questionnaire but they will need the Tribunal’s permission to do so.

What remedies are available? There are three remedies available to a Tribunal: • Declaration • Compensation • Recommendations Declaration A declaration states the rights of the claimant and sets out how the employer and/or any employee involved has acted unlawfully. Compensation Compensation can be awarded for injury to feelings and financial losses, if there are any. There is no limit on the amount of compensation, which can include loss of earnings (past and future), loss of pension, interest and any other outlays associated with the discrimination (Marshall v Southampton and South West Hampshire AHA (Teaching) (No 2) [1992]). The amount of compensation for injury to feelings can vary enormously. The person’s age and vulnerability may be considered, and also the severity of the discrimination. Claimants can also ask for compensation for personal injury if they have been seriously affected by the discrimination, particularly in harassment cases which can lead to illness and depression (Sharifi v Strathclyde Regional Council [1992]; Armitage, Marsden and HM Prison Service v Johnson [1997], O’Donoughe v Redcar Borough Council [2001]. If so, claimants need to produce a medical report to support their claim. Compensation may be reduced if the claimant failed to follow the statutory grievance procedure. Aggravated damages may be awarded (see Alexander v Home Office [1998]). Exemplary damages are not available in discrimination cases (Ministry of Defence v Meredith [1995]). Recommendations The Tribunal’s powers to make recommendations are limited to actions that will benefit the individual employee and lessen the effect of the discrimination on her. They must be practical, have a time limit and avoid or reduce the effect of the discrimination that she complained about. For instance, they might include a requirement for all members of management to be trained in equal opportunities, or for the employee who has been discriminated against to be provided with additional training or mentoring, or to be invited to interview in relation to future job applications. If the employer fails to comply with a recommendation, then

‘Defending Human Rights at Work’


the Tribunal may order the compensation to be increased. What is the gender equality duty? Public authorities have a duty to pay “due regard” to promoting gender equality and eliminating sex discrimination. This means that service providers and public sector employers have to design employment and services with the different needs of women and men in mind. It requires public bodies to set their own gender equality goals in consultation with

their service users and employers and to take action to achieve them. Discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against another person on the grounds that they intend to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment. This covers less favourable treatment due to an employee’s absence for gender reassignment treatment.

Solidarity Trade Union

May 1st



y is O u r

Solidarity is still a relatively new Union. Whilst it did very little in the first year it has more than made up for it in the last two! We have represented over a hundred members and given advice to many others. Our membership has steadily grown. We represent the majority of Union membership in a few workplaces and we are working toward recognition (for collective bargaining purposes) for the first time in some of them. It is vital however that we keep on growing for only in that way can we develop our representation. If you have been a beneficiary of our representation in the past you will appreciate how important that service can be. We would appreciate your efforts in finding us new members which in turn will improve the service we can offer to all members. Just one new member within the next week will be a great help. Make it your personal aim this week to recruit one other member. Other ways you can help Apart from recruiting you could also: * Order 100 Solidarity leaflets to distribute at workplaces, in neighbourhoods or door-to-door. Some members make this a regular task. Just send £2 to our central address. Alternatively you can download leaflets from our website and copy off what you need here: 9

* If you ever stand as a candidate in an election you could please mention that you are a member of our Union on your election address and give our web URL. * Register an interest in becoming a rep for the Union. We are compiling a list and will be sending out invitations to a training event. * Ensure you don't fall behind on your dues (especially if you paid a yearly/half-yearly sub) * Send us a donation to allow us to grow. You can do this by posting a cheque or online at: *If you are not already a member join!

The Politbureau stocks a wide variety of political literature: magazines, pamphlets, posters, leaflets etc. Items from the British National Party, National Front, Socialist Workers Party, Third Way, Anti Nazi League and many more. Many items are rare and hard to find.




The British Workers’ Union

Solidarity – The Union for British Workers is an independent UK trade union formed in late 2005. It is named after the Polish trade union Solidarnosc. Solidarity recruits from all industrial sectors and professions. We believe in ‘One Big Union’. The idea is not new. In 1834 Robert Owen formed the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union in an attempt to unite all the workers into one Union. We too see the sense of organising across trades and professions. The Solidarity Union does not bar members on account of race, religion, sexuality or political opinion. • • • • • • We represent our members at disciplinaries and grievances. We give advice and guidance on accidents at work and pursuing claims. We train reps. We oppose discrimination on political and other grounds. We campaign against off-shoring and cheap migrant labour. We seek to improve health and safety at work. You need a Union that will fight for you! Join today.

The British Workers’ Union

w w w. s o l i d a r i t y t r a d e u n i o n . o r g

Send application form to: Solidarity Trade Union, PO Box 93, Spennymoor, DL16 9AN

Personal Details Title: First name: Last Name: Date of Birth: Address: Gender: M / F

Standing Order Details To (your bank’s name): Postal address of your bank (found on cheque book/statement)

Solidarity Account Information Please pay - Lloyds TSB Beneficiary Name: Solidarity Trade Union Account Number - 0003839 Sort Code: 30 92 52

Postcode Work Details: Trade/Job/Profession Current Employer

Pay immediately and thereafter the sum of £5 (five pounds) per month - until further notice in writing. Date commencing: Name of Account to be debited (your name appears on your statement or cheque book): Sort Code (of your account): Account Number (of your account):

Pay by Cheque If you prefer to send a cheque then write out a cheque payable to ‘Solidarity Trade Union’, for the sum of either £30 (for 6 months) or £60 (for 12 months)

Sign & Join I, the undersigned, agree to abide by Solidarity rules and affirm that I am not debarred, and authorise the Standing order mandate (unless I have sent a cheque)





Printed & Published by Solidarity Trade Union, PO Box 93, Spennymoor, DL16 9AN

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Description: Issue number three of British Worker the journal of the UK Trade Union Solidarity. Contents include:- Advice Clinic, Education and Training on Sex Discrimination law and an interview with a Solidarity Rep originally published in the ecological magazine Alternative Green.