At Thompson’s we would like to reassure all our clients that as far as possible we are operating as normal. The health and safety of our staff and clients is our primary concern during this outbreak and as such we are reviewing the situation on a regular basis and will be adapting our working practices following government guidelines. However, we have had to make some minor changes to how we are doing things.

Following Government guidelines, we have temporarily closed all of our offices and our staff are now all working from home using secure technologies to ensure they are able to continue to progress with existing and new cases as normal. All face to face meetings have been cancelled, however we are continuing to hold these meetings via phone and video calls. All the team are contactable on their direct dial numbers and email should you need to speak with your solicitor, please do not hesitate to talk to us about anything during this time.

We know these are uncertain and unsettling times for many of our clients, and the wider population, and things might look a little different for the foreseeable future. But our focus remains on our dedication, knowledge and strength that we provide to all our clients. We will continue to provide updates over the coming days and weeks in accordance with official guidelines and to keep everyone informed of the situation.

As always, for any concerns, advice and updates on your case; Talk to Thompsons.

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Employment Law

Longannet Power Station has been the source of much discussion and media coverage over recent weeks and months.

Opening in 1970, Longannet was the largest coal-fired power station in Europe. It’s generating capacity was the highest of all power stations in Scotland. Originally the station was operated by the South of Scotland Electricity Board until 1990 when it was handed to Scottish Power (a subsidiary of Iberdrola) post the Conservative Government’s privatisation of the electricity industry.

This week has seen continued strike action by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (“PCS”) employed by the National Museums of Scotland.

The action is the latest escalation in a standoff dating back to 2011 between PCS and the Scottish government over a change to terms and conditions. The change does not affect staff employed before 2011, but will remove weekend allowances for staff who joined after this date.

A week after Chelsea Manager, Jose Mourinho’s, public criticism of Team Doctor, Eva Cairnerio, the story very much rumbles on. And the longer it runs the more extreme, sexist and concerning it becomes.

So how did this all start?

During Chelsea’s match last Saturday against Swansea referee, Michael Oliver, signalled to Dr Carneiro to attend to midfielder, Eden Hazard, who was down on the pitch apparently injured.

Somewhat surprisingly, the glamorous worlds of espionage and employment law—despite having so much in common (the sharply dressed practitioners; the exotic locations; the weaknesses for strong cocktails and beautiful people)—rarely meet.
Upon reflection, the reason for this comes down to good common sense: by the nature of their role, spies tend to know an awful lot of bad things about their employers; they know where the bodies are buried, in a figurative and quite often literal sense. This provides the average spy with a degree of leverage most employees simply don’t have over their employers. The burnt-out or misbehaving spy isn’t the sort of individual an employer is in a hurry to get on the wrong side of.

In a move described by the Living Wage Foundation as “historic”, Ikea have become the first national retailer to sign up to the scheme.

Foundation Director Rhys Moore said:

“We are delighted with the news that Ikea… has announced its intention to accredit as a Living Wage employer. This is a huge step in the life of the Living Wage movement and sends out a clear marker to the sector that businesses that can, should pay the voluntary rate, which is calculated according to the cost of living.

In July 2013, the Conservative-led UK Government introduced a fee system for Employment Tribunals. These costs are solely to be paid by employees. The employers do not have to pay to defend the action. This means that in order to lodge a claim employees are now required to pay a lodging fee of up to £250 and then a further £950 for the case to proceed to a hearing before a Judge.

The result has been a drastic drop in claims and severe restriction in access to justice for ordinary working people. Official statistics show a huge 81% drop in claims lodged between April and June 2014, compared to the same time in 2013.

The issue of Zero Hours Contracts has come of age during the present election campaign. The issue started off as just one arrow in Labour’s “Cost of Living” quiver, but has since assumed a more central role in the party’s electoral rhetoric.

A Zero Hours Contract is not a legal construct, but rather an informal term for a working arrangement where a worker is assigned shifts ad hoc and has no contractual obligation to work a minimum number of hours.

Liberal Democrat Business Minister Jo Swinson MP identified Glasgow pub chain G1 as the worst of 48 offenders who have been outed by Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) for failing to pay their employees in line with the national minimum wage.

The announcement was part of a high profile naming-and-shaming of habitual transgressors. The amounts in question ranged from £130.28 underpaid by a Chesterfield electrical retail firm to G1’s staggering £45,124.00 underpaid to 2,895 workers.
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