#DecentJobsWeek: Unions are scoring successes against casualisation

The fall in the numbers of workers covered by agreements negotiated by trade unions is the key reason for the rise in low-paid and casual jobs in the UK. In 2013, 29 per cent of working people in the…

Stronger Unions - 19/12/14

#DecentJobsWeek: This exploitation of agency workers must end

Tina is a qualified further education lecturer employed through an agency which forced her to sign a permanent contract of employment. She is only paid for the time she spends teaching but not for planning or attending meetings. Because she only teaches 24 hours a week she can’t claim working tax…

Touchstone blog - 19/12/14

MEPs fight to save Europe’s air quality, women’s rights and recycling plans

Europe’s “fresh start” under the Juncker Presidency has already run into opposition from MEPs. A draft document leaked to the press last week shows that key EU environmental proposals on clean air, waste and recycling (the so-called ‘circular economy’), and stronger protection for…

Touchstone blog - 19/12/14

Who’s really in favour of #ISDS?

The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in the proposed trade deal between the EU and the USA (TTIP) are the most controversial part of the deal. And they appear in all new trade negotiations, like the one between the EU and Canada (CET…

Touchstone blog - 19/12/14

Saving Our Safety Net Fact of the Week: cruelty to people who are weak and poor is the most important fact of all

This is my last Fact of the Week until the New Year, and I want finish 2014 by thinking about the human costs of benefit cuts. The other facts have been the sort you can put a £ sign in front of or a % sign after, or which you measure in millions. Here I…

Touchstone blog - 19/12/14

CBI on TTIP: a policy based on faith and avoiding their critics

The CBI’s top leaders were in Brussels today along with the Prime Minister to help him put ‘rocket boosters’ under the increasingly unpopular Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the USA. They gathered a range of business organisations across…

Touchstone blog - 18/12/14

TUC Green Christmas newsletter – some bright, some sobering news

Seasonally daft and seasonally sobering news from the TUC’s latest Greenworkplaces newsletter. First up is Prospect’s new A-Z Guide to a Sustainable Christmas,  a light hearted look at Christmas through a sustainability lens…..and with a fair amount of poetic licence. It’s full of…

Touchstone blog - 18/12/14

OBR projections confirm five years of the coalition leaves households poorer

If the government are looking for reasons why the public are not sharing their enthusiasm for the condition of the economy (eg ‘Optimism about the economic recovery is in freefall’, from yesterday’s Evening Standard ), they need look little further than the Office for Budgetary Responsibility’s…

Touchstone blog - 18/12/14

Precarious recovery: Restoring decent jobs at the European level

Zero hour contracts have hit the headlines in the UK, and rightly so there are 1.4 million British workers on these contracts. But they are not just an issue here, they’re increasingly an problem across the whole of Europe too. With unemployment rates perilously high across the European Union,…

Touchstone blog - 18/12/14

Supreme Court ruling on conscientious objection and abortion

Yesterday, the Supreme Court made an important ruling on the issue of the scope of conscientious objection for healthcare professionals. The case (Greater Glasgow Health Board v Doogan and Wood) was taken by two Labour Ward co-ordinators in the Souther…

Touchstone blog - 18/12/14