It’s cold outside

It’s cold outside

Carlotta Perez argues that Kondratiev Long Waves have an internal shape. One of the trends is the rollout of the driving technology from the core to the periphery and this takes place in the maturity phase as profitability declines. Another important event is the next eruption and where that takes place. Between the Steel & Oil phases, the world’s core moved from England, the epicentre of the British Empire to the USA and we should remember that this role was contended for by both Germany and the Soviet Union. It’s moved once, it can move again but it’s most unlikely to come back to England. I wonder what being part of the periphery will be like. I suppose it depends upon where the core is. Will it remain in the USA or move, to China or the EU. The key will be the dynamism of the innovation economy; it looks like the UK’s Universities will decline and that much of aerospace and biosciences will leave the UK. Otherwise the UK & US industries may be defended by the ubiquity of English, but the EU has had 40 years of using it as their language of commerce and to a great extent the language of government.

I can’t see it clearly, but the corruption and financialization of the anglosphere economies are stymieing innovation and inhibiting “creative destruction”; there is opportunity for other national economies to do better. It would also seem that Perez’s regulatory correction is nostalgic this time, looking back to times when things seemed better, or defending old out dated business models. We  cannot recreate the industries of the steel revolution.

It’s unlikely to be pleasant, especially if the UK moves from being a 2nd tier economy to peripheral one. …

Google, the GDPR and Brexit

Google, the GDPR and Brexit

Google are going to move their UK users data from Ireland to the USA. I wrote a little note on my linkedin blog. I headline it as

Google are moving UK data from Ireland to the US … what does this say about UK/EU/US dataflows and ompliance with the GDPR and the world’s data protection laws.

I also point out the need for robust legal redress to comply with the GDPR, which the UK and USA may not meet and that the UK will lose access to the US Privacy Shield arrangements. I note that the UK will lose its member state privileges and powers under the GDPR when the transition period ends and that RIPA 2016 and the immigration exception of the DPA 2018 may cause the Commission some problems with respect to “Adequacy”.

I note that model clauses and binding corporate rules will remain in place and I wonder if this is a business opportunity for a European based phone operating system author as people choose to withdraw from Android? Nokia? Canonical? …

What happened?

What happened?

So what happened? Where does it leave me and my allies? I have been doing a lot of reading much of which I have bookmarked on my diigo feed, tagged GE2019. I wanted to write something deep, insightful and original, but others got there first. The result has two highlights, the loss of seats in the East Midands, North East, East Coast, primarily leave seats, primarily seats that have voted Labour forever but secondly an overall loss of votes to “Remain” parties. Labour’s so-called Lexiters were quick out the gate blaming Labour’s promise for a second referendum as the core cause of the loss of these seats. Reality requires a deeper look; it also requires the recognition that some of those seats will have been lost because remain supporting labour voters chose to vote elsewhere. Would the result have been better or worse if we had not promised the second referendum? How many of these seats did we lose by less than the Green/LibDem vote? How many of the seats in the Leave voting majorities that we held, might we have lost if remain supporters had been less committed to us? It could have been worse! For a more detailed insight I need to wait for the Electoral Commission spreadsheet. I say more below/overleaf …  …

Workers rights for Maternity and the EU

Workers rights for Maternity and the EU

This article is a quote from the TUC’s “UK employment rights and the EU“, it relates to maternity rights and the EU acquis.

The EU Pregnant Workers Directive 1992 led to substantial improvements in the health and safety protections for expectant and new mothers in the workplace. It gave women paid time off for ante-natal appointments and placed duties on employers to assess risks and to adjust working conditions, transfer a pregnant or breastfeeding worker to alternative work or suspend them on paid leave where harm is identified.

While the maternity leave entitlement in the UK already exceeded the EU minimum of 14 weeks when the Directive was implemented, case law from the ECJ has had a positive impact in tackling the disadvantage and discrimination that many women face in the workplace when they become mothers. For example, it made clear that treating a women unfavourably because of pregnancy or maternity leave was direct sex discrimination and that it was not necessary to identify a non-pregnant comparator in similar circumstances to prove discrimination. This ended years of women potentially being defeated in discrimination claims because the employer argued that they would have treated a man who had to take a substantial period out of the workplace in a similar way.

Sex discrimination law in the UK was amended to create a separate category of pregnancy discrimination, which is now defined as unfavourable treatment because of pregnancy or maternity leave in the Equality Act 2010 with no need for any comparison with a non-pregnant employee. This change in UK law was achieved following a case taken against the UK government by the old Equal Opportunities Commission relying on EU law.

ECJ case law has also extended protection from dismissal on grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave to fixed-term workers. And, since 2008, women on additional maternity leave have had access to the same contractual rights as women on ordinary maternity leave as a result of ECJ case law. This means, for example, that employers are obliged to make contributions into occupational pension schemes for longer than the first 26 weeks of leave.

ooOOOoo …

Brexit and workers rights

Brexit and workers rights

Is EU employment protection laws better than the UK’s? Here’s the TUC, and here’s the Institute of employment rights.

The IER says,

Brexit is forever, and an honest appreciation of history should alert us to the dangers, just as optimism about a Labour government should temper our concerns. It is worth noting that UK labour standards tend to be more robust – and more or less on a par with European standards – in those areas presided by EU labour law instruments (e.g. working time, equality law, business restructuring). Whereas they tend to fall below European standards in areas such as unfair dismissal where, as noted in 2011 by the Beecroft report ‘[t]here is no EU concept of “unfair” non-discriminatory dismissal, so there are no other EU constraints on what the UK can do in this area’

i.e. so much for the power of the organised working class, and interested in what they say about unfair dismissal as it’s underwritten by an article in the Charter of Fundamental Rights yet protection seems weaker, primarily because the UK requires workers to have two years longevity but this is important evidence that the employee rights are stronger where there’s EU Law as is the case for working hours, equalities and health & safety.

They conclude,

… we provide an account of the constitutional foundations of European labour rights in the United Kingdom, as well as the extent to which British labour law is informed by mandatory European standards. It is unquestionably the case that without the EU influence, British labour law textbooks would be very much thinner, lighter and cheaper.

The IER concludes by pointing out that the Govt. proposals now avoid the commitment to keep a level playing field on worker’s rights and that the need to sign an FTA with the USA will be a driving force to weakening these rights.

The TUC document says,

“There has been some recent concern that the European Commission’s social policy agenda has become increasingly restricted. For example, recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) cases have limited the ability of unions to organise industrial action in cross-border disputes, and in some Eurozone countries the Commission has actively undermined sector-wide collective bargaining agreements.

However, set against these concerns are the significant employment rights gains that continue to accrue to UK workers as a result of our EU membership. These are wide ranging in scope, including access to paid annual holidays, improved health and safety protection, rights to unpaid parental leave, rights to time off work for urgent family reasons, equal treatment rights for part-time, fixed-term and agency workers, rights for outsourced workers, and rights for workers’ representatives to receive information and be consulted, particularly in the context of restructuring.

They conclude

“While recent EU-led improvements in employment protection have been more limited than in the past, and some EU activities have served to reduce the existing settlement, the overall contribution of EU employment rights to the UK workforce is substantial. The gains UK workers achieve as a result of our membership of the EU include improved access to paid annual holidays, improved health and safety provision, rights to unpaid parental leave, rights to time off work for urgent family reasons, equal treatment rights for part-time, fixed-term and agency workers, rights for outsourced workers, information and consultation and significant health and safety protection. Given these benefits we conclude that EU membership continues to deliver wide-ranging protections to UK workers. Furthermore, evidence also suggests that in the years ahead, remaining in the European Union may provide significant opportunities to extend employment protections for working people.

The conclusion is obvious. …