National Gallery Lecturers Win ‘Worker’ Status

A group of art lecturers who lost their jobs at the National Gallery have won their legal fight to be recognised as workers, allowing them to claim certain employment benefits such as holiday pay.

The 27 art lecturers, who were dismissed in October 2017, argued that they were not given any paid holiday, sick pay, pensions or maternity and paternity pay, despite paying taxes through the payroll as employees.

The gallery claimed they were freelancers and were not entitled to any such rights. However, the lecturers had to conform to a strict set of rules and a “house style” when carrying out their work and were asked to contribute to initiatives for the education department.

The employment tribunal dismissed their claim for unfair dismissal, because they could not be classified as employees.

According to the Financial Times, the dispute was sparked by a restructuring programme that saw the number of full-time, part-time and casual positions reduced.

One Million Public Sector Staff Earning Below Living Wage

Almost 1.2 million public sector workers are “trapped in in-work poverty” and are earning below the cost of living, according to a new analysis.

About 20% of UK jobs that pay below the independently calculated Living Wage are in the public sector, research by the Smith Institute for the Living Wage Foundation has found. 

The Smith Institute estimates that six million UK workers are paid below the Living Wage, 1.89 million of whom work in the public sector in areas including the NHS, local and central government, councils, the civil service and universities.

Lola McEvoy, head of campaigns at the Living Wage Foundation, said: “It’s simply wrong that our teaching assistants, cleaners, carers and catering staff – paid on public money – are struggling to keep their heads above water on wages that don’t meet basic living costs."

According to earlier research for the Living Wage Foundation, more than a third of low-paid working parents have skipped meals due to a lack of money, while almost half have fallen behind on household bills.

Over A Quarter Of NHS Staff Experienced Bullying In The Last Year

The 2018 NHS Staff Survey, which included results from almost 500,000 staff across 230 NHS trusts, suggested bullying cultures were pervasive, and contained worrying projections about the health and wellbeing of workers in the sector.

Over the last 12 months, 25.5 per cent of respondents reported experiencing bullying, harassment or abuse from another member of staff, up from 24.4 per cent in 2017.

NHS staff also reported an overall decline in health and wellbeing between 2017 and 2018, with less than a third (28.6 per cent) of staff reporting their organisation had taken positive action on health and wellbeing – a three percentage point decline on the previous year. 

These figures coincide with a nearly 3 per cent rise in the number of respondents who reported seeing an error, near miss or an incident that could have hurt a patient or service user, up to 27.8 per cent, up from 25 per cent in 2017. 

The report follows a series of government reforms announced last week, including the implementation of a 24-hour helpline to help NHS staff cope with traumatic incidents at work, and the appointment of 'workforce wellbeing guardians' at every NHS organisation. 

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