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The Workers and The Law

Butterworth's Employment Law Handbook
(11 th edition)

The odd thing about the working class movement and the law is, when we are big enough and strong enough we don't need it to help us, and we don't let it restrict us. It is only when the odds go in the direction of the employers, and our strength is drained away to nowt, that we start trying to bring in features of the law to help our cause. Unions have become so weakened by job losses, insecurity, short time work, redundancies as well as being hog tied by a labyrinth of anti union laws that spontaneous industrial action is almost unheard of, while official strikes are as rare as on-time trains. The law has become an almost impossible hurdle in carrying out industrial action without running foul of one aspect of it or another. When we have a grievance these days we reached to the law books. We try and restrain the hand of over zealous employers by helpful European laws or what legal protections remain in the system. Which book is it though the trade union branch official ought to reach for ? True the Labour Research Dept, and the Child Poverty Action Group both to their credit produce ready little pocket size reference booklets which are a quick reminder and pointer as to where to go and what to look for. For the serious ongoing areas of work likely to be encountered in most branch offices however, across the board of labour organisation, a substantial and informative reference book is required. There are a couple of these on the market. My unreserved recommendation goes to :-
Butterworths Employment Law Handbook ( 11th Edition) don't be mislead, when it says 'handbook' it is actually a weighty text book, and is the definitive word on all aspects of employment law and industrial relations legislation.

Well laid out and nicely printed, all relevant Statutes, Statutory Instruments, European Materials, International Materials, together with materials on Employment Tribunals practice, and concludes with a comprehensive list of useful address's.

For those of us up to our arm pits in legal Ping-Pong, the book is indispensable, it is thoroughly cross referenced to other works, for use in Tribunal settings. The current edition comes with the new EAT Practice Direction on Procedure. Some have called it "the Bible" of Employment Tribunals and even nonbelievers will understand why.

The title is £52 and can be ordered from the Customer Services Dept, on +44(0)20 8662 2000 by e-mailing customer.services@lexisnexis.co.uk or through the online catalogue
(which itself is an entire library of resources dealing with the law per sae) www.lexisnexis.co.uk The subject index to lexisnexis UK online services gives a speedy reference to anything your looking for and where it might be found.

Without a social revolution comes around in the near future to shift the power by their own hands back to the workers, Butterworths Handbook seems destined to be a well thumbed and much referenced resource for some time to come. Certainly the remaining NUM Branch offices ,ought all to have a copy sitting on their desks.