Changing Unions in a Changing World

28 02 2007

Influential trade union think-tank, Unions 21, is organising a series of events in four different British cities. Connect South will be attending the meeting in London and reporting back (hopefully during the event). We also hope to bring you a podcast from the conference.

  • Keynote address by David Miliband MP with responses from Chris Keates (NASUWT General Secretary) and Debbie Coulter (GMB Deputy General Secretary)
  • Frances O’Grady, TUC Deputy General Secretary
  • Unions and the Changing Political World: Tony Dubbins (Amicus Deputy General Secretary and Chair of TULO) will present his thoughts concerning the trade union link with the Labour Party, party funding and the implications for the wider movement.

  • Random Drug Checks a Mine Field

    24 02 2007

    Apart from the rail industry, where drug testing is allowed by the Transport and Works Act 1992, the use of screening is a legal minefield.

    According to an employment specialist, in theory any company can impose substance misuse testing but it can be extremely tricky to implement.

    Even if an employer has it written into a contract, it is still no guarantee that it is does not contravene the human or employment rights of the worker.

    The difficulty arises because drug testing involves taking a hair, saliva, urine or blood sample from an employee and that needs consent.

    Taking it forcibly would amount to a physical assault. If an employee refuses to allow the testing, they may claim any subsequent action resulted from an infringement of their rights to privacy, which is protected under the Human Rights Act of 1998.

    More at The Telegraph

    Women In Technology

    23 02 2007

    An interesting interview with AnnaLee a female journalist and self professed “Geek” about a book  (Shes such a geek) she has written about the experiance of women working in the technology industry.

     The video is here on podtech

    We have had debates at conference about getting more women into the industry  and Annalee raises some interesting comment’s about the stereotypes of women in technology companies.

    Increase in minimum annual leave proposed

    17 02 2007

    The DTI has proposed an increase in minimum holiday entitlement under the Working Time Regulations 1998 from 20 days to 28 days by adding bank holidays.

    Entitlement will rise from 20 to 24 days on 1st October 2007, and from 24 to 28 days on 1st October 2008.

    Consultation is underway 

    Peppone comments 

    I suspect that this change is due to some unscrupulous employers taking advantage (as documented on the BBC news site here) of a loop hole in the “The Working Time Regulations ” and counting bank holidays as part of the minimum entitlement.

    Thanks to Russell Jones & Walker for the tip

    Connects ULR Site Launched

    16 02 2007

    Connect has launched the Connectlearning website today. A major new resource is now available at:

    It will:

    ·         Provide information on our Union Learning Rep (ULR) project

    ·         Enable members to find out more about becoming a ULR

    ·         Provide advice, support and information for ULRs

    ·         Enable ULRs to network with each other, share information and build their own community

     ·         Provide access to other relevant web sites