UK: Employers misuse data rules to stifle workers’ rights

published 14 September 2018 updated 19 September 2018

Some employers in the UK are discriminating against employees and undermining education unions after the adoption of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations). That’s according to the NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers).

The union, an affiliate of Education International, says that some employers are attempting to manipulate the recently introduced GDPR to try to pursue exploitative and discriminatory employment practices and to deny trade unions their right to represent their members. The claim is contained in a report by the NASUWT that was presented at the British Trades Union Congress (TUC) in Manchester earlier this week.

According to the NASUWT, 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 British national data protection authority 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.

Attempt to prevent union advocacy

Chris Keates, NASUWT General Secretary, denounced that “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. 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”.