Employers misusing data rules to stifle workers’ rights

Some employers are attempting to manipulate the recently introduced GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) to try to pursue exploitative and discriminatory employment practices and to deny trade unions their right to represent their members, the NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union has told TUC Congress.

The Union has told Congress in Manchester that some employers are misusing GDPR to seek to deny trade unions access to legitimate information on issues such as redundancy and equal pay.

The NASUWT has called on the TUC to press the Information Commissioner to issue statutory guidance to employers stating that trade unions have a legitimate right to be provided with information necessary to represent and support their members.

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, moving the motion, said:

“Unfortunately, it is all too common for unscrupulous employers to seek to take a legislative provision designed to protect individuals and distort it to deny workers their rights.

“More and more examples are emerging of employers in the education sector seeking to withhold workforce data, designed to identify discriminatory practices and inequality, thereby preventing trade unions representing their members’ interests.

“Job loss, which causes appalling stress and distress, made worse by employers seeking to withhold vital workforce information needed for unions to seek to protect workers’ rights.

“These actions are nothing to do with protecting people’s personal data and everything to do with employers trying to pursue exploitative working practices and prevent trade unions fighting for decent pay and working conditions for members.

“We are calling on the TUC to press the Information Commissioner to act and to prevent the manipulation of this important legislation to disadvantage working people.”