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TUC backing for Ucatt campaigns

14 Sep 16 Construction union Ucatt has won backing from the entire union movement for two of its top priority campaigns – fighting umbrella companies and workplace surveillance.

The Trades Union Congress 2016 annual conference overwhelming backed two separate motions put forward by Ucatt in its battle against the exploitation of construction workers.

The TUC general council is now committed to: “Lobby all political parties to win a commitment for specific legislation that ensures that workers are not exploited by being coerced into undertaking employment where the distinction between the employer and the employee is not accurate or transparent.”

Moving the motion, Ucatt acting general secretary Brian Rye said: “In construction and far too many other sectors the latest form of exploitation is umbrella companies. A form of exploitation created by a multi-million pound industry That exists solely to ensure that workers are denied basic employment rights and guarantees employers’ don’t have to pay national insurance contributions or employee benefits.

Congress has also put its weight behind a Ucatt motion that commits the union movement to fight the use of surveillance equipment in the workplace.

The TUC will now produce a good practice guide to surveillance in the workplace, pressure employers to follow it, and name and shame those that do not. It also hopes to push the Information Commissioner’s Office to start ensuring employers follow data protection laws with regards to workplace surveillance.

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The TUC was told how in many workplaces management uses tracking devices and hidden cameras to monitor workers.

Moving the motion, Ucatt delegate Tracey Whittle told congress how inappropriate surveillance was a massive issue for Ucatt workers, especially those employed on housing maintenance contracts.

She said: “Bosses are using and abusing these systems. They don’t stop want you to stop working even for a minute and heaven forbid if you need the loo more than once a day.”

This is likely to be the last time that Ucatt is represented at the TUC annual congress as an independend union. With funds running out, it is working towards a merger with the much larger Unite union. [See previous report here.]

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