Workers turn out to mark labour day in London on October 1st. Photograph: Andy Rain/BBC/WireImage
The event has caused debate, with politicians and academics criticising the approach to the labour laws and highlighting the differences in legal standards that govern the two cities. In response, the government says that on Thursday, when the Labour government takes power, it will set out the UK’s legal approach to working life as part of a series of action plan on how the country will handle these changes.
The government says Labour’s plans will help improve the lives of thousands of people and raise the standard of working lives in Britain.
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“We believe that any country can improve living standards for working people by introducing the legal framework and regulation required to achieve these gains,” the government says. “We will make sure that the best standards of living are found for all in our country by bringing back controls on working hours, paid holiday and maximum hours of payment.
“All these reforms will be driven by the principle of fair and effective minimum wages, while ensuring the highest standards of conditions to attract and retain high skiapronxlled jobs.”
The UK’s employment law remains a vexing issue as the Labour government attempts to push through major labour laws.
Under the existing legal regime, employers can negotiate unfair working practices with employees in a bid to bring about a reduction in their wages and hours. It is not uncommon for employment law disputes to be thrown out by both employers and judges at the end of the process.
The new law, proposed as part of the government’s plans to boost employment rights, has changed the way workers who have worked under the current regime can sue their employers under UK law.
The law sets out conditions for claiming against an employer if they have:
been found to have deliberately or inadvertently overcharged employees at work during a 12-month period
been found guilty of an offence under a collective contract such as zero-hours contracts or contract redundancy
been found to have abused an employment relationship (in this case, over-charging) or abused or neglected any other legal rights.
A number of big employers in the UK, including accountancy giant PwC and advertising giant BSkyB, have taken a number of workers t