News & Events News News in Brief June 2019 NDAs being abused to cover up mistreatment at work A report by the House of Commons' women and equalities committee has warned that secretive non-disclosure agreements are being routinely misused by employers to cover up allegations of unlawful behaviour at work, such as discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying. Some NDAs specifically included clauses worded to prevent employees providing evidence to court proceedings or police investigations, something the report condemned as a possible criminal attempt at "perverting the course of justice." The report recommended that the government take action to stop NDAs from being used to cover up or prevent legitimate discussion about unlawful behaviour at work. Court rules employers can bypass collective bargaining when negotiations fail Overturning a previous judgement, the Court of Appeal has ruled that businesses are allowed under some circumstances to bypass collective bargaining arrangements if an impasse has been reached and make financial offers directly to employees. This reversed the ruling of two previous tribunals ordering Kostal UK, a car parts manufacturer, to pay nearly £420,000 in compensation to 55 union members for 'unlawful inducements' after the firm made an offer directly to the workforce to accept a 2-4% pay rise in exchange for a Christmas bonus, following a breakdown in pay negotiations with its recognised union Unite. Unite commented that they were "extremely disappointed" with the ruling and planned to appeal to the Supreme Court. Gig economy doubles in three years According to a new study based on a poll of 2,235 UK working-age residents from the TUC and University of Hertfordshire, the size of the gig economy of platform work in the UK has more than doubled over the past three years, to 4.7 million workers. Around one in 10 working-age adults currently find work via online platforms such as Uber or Deliveroo at least once a week, while up to one in seven, or 7.5 million people, have found work via a gig economy platform at some point in their working lives. Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA said that the labour market was shifting more rapidly than the response of policymakers to his 2017 Review of Modern Employment Practices and that it was up to the next Prime Minister "to take this agenda and run faster with it."