Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article GuruOn 8 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today This week’s guruEuro nightmare brings Italianbedroom chaos Guruhas always been slightly suspicious of the euro. Britain is outperforming theEurozone – with higher growth, lower unemployment and lower inflation – so whyrush to introduce the new currency?But Guru hasdiscovered a more worrying reason for opposing the introduction of the euro inthe UK.A survey by Italianbankers’ association Bancafinanza shows that 64 per cent of employees haveexperienced sexual problems with their partners due to worries over thecurrency swap.The changeover is alsoleading to extra working hours and the fear of calculating wrong conversions isgiving nightmares to 45 per cent of the 980 employees polled.Guru is understandablyworried – if hot-blooded Italians are losing their libido over the introductionof the euro, what hope for a sexually repressed English academic?Nomore Aussie trolley dolliesAir hostesses inAustralia are trying to shake off their “trolley dolly” image.They are starting acampaign aimed at changing the public’s perception of them and gainingrecognition as responsible “air safety professionals”.Australia’s FlightAttendants Association wants to highlight its members’ skills in security,medical emergencies and fire evacuation procedures and move away from their”coffee, tea or me” stereotype.As far as Guru isconcerned, such a move is long overdue. He has always been fascinated by airhostesses and their uncanny ability to serve hot coffee while defyingturbulence and sexual harassment.Officestress? Call in the vicarEmployers and staff inBirmingham could soon be benefiting from spiritual guidance in the workplace.Theinter-denominational Churches Industrial Group wants to employ two businesschaplains to visit firms battling against the economic downturn. They wouldplay a role in counselling worried employees facing redundancy.The CIG is optimisticthat companies will contribute towards the estimated £30,000 a year cost ofemploying each chaplain. Fortunately it has stopped short of introducingconfessional boxes into the boardroom.But Guru doubts thatall employers will be happy to pay up – the chaplains will also be criticisingwhat they think are morally dubious business and management practices.Therisks from coffee and carpets…Guruwas surprised to read that it is not only Ministry of Defence personnel inAfghanistan and other high-risk countries whose safety is at risk on a dailybasis.Research shows that9,000 MoD civil servants were injured in the office last year. Civilian staffreceived MoD compensation payouts totalling £3m as a result of some of theseworkplace incidents.Claims included anemployee who was thrown across an office by static electricity and an asthmaattack caused by carpet dust.Other incidentsincluded coffee spills, falling over waste bins, bad backs, tired eyes andstrained wrists.The MoD is now helpingstaff cope with stress through the use of relaxation periods, reflexology andrisk assessment advisers. If that fails then it is boot camp for the lot ofthem.
…in briefOn 22 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today This week’s news in briefRail strike postponed Industrial action by the RMT union against South West Trains has beenpostponed to allow for possible talks. RMT members had been due to stage a48-hour walkout on 24-25 January over pay and disciplinary procedures. It willnow go ahead on 28 and 29 January with more strikes on 12 and13 February. Pru outsources US-based Prudential Financial has signed a 10-year deal with Exult tooutsource its HR function. The deal includes running the company’s HR callcentre, training and information services. Michele Darling, executivevice-president of HR for Prudential, said: “It allows us to focus on thestrategic aspects of HR.” www.prudential.comSelection ‘biased’ The Equal Opportunities Commission is calling for parliamentary selectioncommittees to be given training after research found prospective women MPs arediscriminated against. In a poll of about 500 parliamentary candidates, half ofConservative and more than a quarter of Labour men agree with 81 per cent ofConservative and 60 per cent of Labour women that selection committees favourmen. www.eoc.org.ukFamily comes first The chief executive of the Britannic group has resigned after two months”to put family before business”. Danny O’Neil’s resignation hashighlighted the increasing importance of work-life balance at all levels.O’Neil said commuting from his Glasgow home to London and Birmingham left himlittle time for his family. Lower settlements Reported pay settlements in manufacturing are at the lowest level for twoyears, according to a report by the Engineering Employers’ Federation. LastDecember’s figure for average pay settlements fell to 1.7 per cent, from 2.6per cent the previous month. Pay freezes increased to 25 per cent of allsettlements for the final quarter of 2001. The report examined 175 reportedsettlements. www.eef.org.uk Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
This week’s news in briefAsbestos ruling A ground-breaking case has clear-ed the way for hundreds of claims frompeople suffering asbestos-related diseases. A ruling by law lords found infavour of three test cases, taken on behalf of mesothelioma victims exposed toasbestos in multiple workplaces. Following the verdict, insurers will have topay compensation. It is believed the change could cost insurance companiesbillions of pounds. www.mesotheliomainfocenter.comCost of ill health Employers can calculate how much sickness absence is costing them on a newHealth & Safety Executive website. The website gives employers informationon the price of sick-ness absence, which is estimated to cost the UK £6.5bn peryear. www.hse.gov.uk/costsCorporate killing UK companies are not ready for the introduction of corporate killinglegislation, according to a new poll. An EU directive will hold board directorsaccountable for the well-being of staff. However, a survey of 100 health andsafety managers, by RRC Business Training, shows that half of all directors seehealth and safety legislation as red tape, imposing unnecessary constraints onbusiness. www.rrc.co.ukSalesforce increases The number of firms intending to increase sales staff outnumber those whoplan to make cuts according to research. A study by the Chartered Institute ofMarketing reveals 25 per cent of firms plan to increase their salesforce asopposed to 9 per cent who will cut back – a slight improvement on the 2001survey, when 10 per cent said they would make cuts. www.cim.co.ukRed tape burden Employment legislation and red tape is overwhelming business by being toocomplex and poorly explained. A report by the Better Regulation Task Force, agovernment advisory body, said employment legislation is a massive bur-den oncompanies and has called on the Government to consider more non-regulatoryoptions. www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/regulation/taskforce Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article …in briefOn 21 May 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.
Ex-offenders can prove hard working and loyal members of staff if they aregiven a chance, delegates at the CIPD’s Parole to Payroll conference heard. Neil Wallace, CIPD advisor on employing ex-offenders and former HR directorat manufacturing firm Corning Optical Fibre, believes employers need to changetheir attitudes towards ex-offenders when recruiting. He said: “When I was in HR I did not want to know about employingconvicted criminals. I had enough problems in the workforce so did everything Icould to check records. This must change and attitudes must move on from riskaversion to risk assessment.” Diana Worman, diversity advisor at the CIPD, agrees that former offenderscan make ideal employees.”Ex-offenders respond to a stable environment andare more likely to stay with an employer because it is harder for them to get ajob,” she said. “Organisations could be putting themselves in a horrendous situation ifthey continue to exclude and do not assess the talent of a large percentage ofthe potential workforce.” Bobby Cummines, chief executive of ex-offenders charity Unlock, said:”Former offenders will not let any fiddles go down because they know thatthey will be the first looked at. They are the best security systemaround.” Cummines, who served 13 years for armed robbery, told delegates thatex-offenders have the skills to be successful in the workplace. Ex-offendershave life skills and perspectives that employers might not have. The skillsthey have are transferable and can be used by businesses. “You (employers) can help ex-offenders to turn the use of their skillsfrom a negative to a positive,” he said. Ex-offenders ‘make good employees’On 28 May 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article
Comments are closed. Q&AOn 16 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today This week’s legal questions and answersQ: Several of our employees have been employed on a succession offixed-term contracts for many years. They are paid less than our permanentstaff and have no pension benefits. One is now demanding his job be madepermanent and his pay and pension benefits equalised. Must we do this? A: New fixed-term employees regulations are due out this year, whichwill prevent less favour-able treatment of fixed-term employees relating tocontractual terms and conditions unless objectively justified. The regulations will limit the use of successive fixed-term contracts tofour years after which the contract will automatically convert to an indefinitecontract in most cases. The principle of non-discrimination applies to allcontractual terms, conditions and benefits including: – Pay – Access to occupational pens-ion schemes – Opportunities for training and further development – Access to permanent job opportunities, and – Other benefits such as holidays and sick leave Employers are not required to ensure like for like entitlements are providedbut contractual rights for their fixed-term employees must be at least asfavourable as for their permanent employees overall. The regulations should have been in place by 10 July 2002. A recent delayhas put the proposed implementation date back to 1 October 2002. Employers still have time to review their fixed-term arrangements and ensureany necessary action is taken. Q: I employ local teenagers during their holidays at my hotel. Am Irestricted on how many hours I can allow them to work? A: At present ‘young workers’ (those over school leaving age butunder 18) are entitled to 12 consecutive hours’ rest between each working day,two days’ weekly rest and a 30-minute rest break when working for longer thanfour-and-a-half hours. However, the DTI is currently consulting on changes to the law, likely to beimplemented in late autumn, to introduce greater protection for young workers. It is likely there will be a limitation on young workers’ time to eight hoursper day and 40 hours per week. There is also likely to be a prohibition on night work which, in hotels,will prevent working between midnight and 4am. Q: An employee is hoping to adopt a child some time within the next year.He says he would want time off but has no contractual right to parental leave.What are his rights? A: At present he has only a statutory right to take unpaid parentalleave. His maximum leave entitlement is four weeks per year up to a total of 13weeks within the first five years after adoption. New adoption and paternity leave regulations due in force by April 2003 willboost this entitlement. They provide for 26 weeks’ paid adoption leave followedby a further 26 weeks’ additional adoption leave. Adoption leave will beavailable for only one adoptive parent. The other adoptive parent (or partnerof a lone adoptive parent) will be able to take up to two weeks paid leaveunder the new regulations. Statutory adoption and paternity pay will be equivalent to the standard rateof SMP which, from April 2003, will be £100 per week – or 90 per cent ofaverage weekly earnings if less. By Nicholas Moore, head of Employment at Osborne Clarke Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
Poorer workers could miss out on the benefits family-friendly workingregulations will provide, warns The Work Foundation. It claims the proposed regulations that intend to help employees balancework and family life could create a two-tier workforce, unless properlymonitored. The regulations propose giving employees the right to have their requestsfor family-friendly working seriously considered. In response to the DTI’s consultation the Work Foundation said theGovernment needs to monitor the quality as well as quantity of family-friendlyworking on offer. This is to avoid the ‘best’ forms of flexibility going tohighly skilled or valued workers who can negotiate their own terms, leavingonly limited flexibility to other employees. Theo Blackwell, chief policy specialist at the lobbying body, said:”The Work Foundation welcomes the new duty to consider requests for flexibleworking as a positive step that will encourage employers to modernise theirapproach to flexible work requests. “Employees who are in a position of strength may benefit the most,while the majority, not realising the full range of flexible working on offer,could miss the best opportunities to change their working patterns. “We hope this duty will help employers move towards a more formal andpolicy-based approach which is transparent and fairer to both employers andemployees.” www.theworkfoundation.com Previous Article Next Article Flexible work rules set to fail limited-skills workersOn 22 Oct 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article Thisweek’s news in briefStriketoll doublesThenumber of working days lost to strike action doubled this year. The Office ofNational Statistics recorded days lost to strikes in the year up to October,not including the firefighters dispute, doubled to just over one million. www.ons.gov.ukPPPdeal agreedAlandmark public private partnership deal was signed last week to upgrade partof the London Underground. The Tubelines consortium will fund refurbishmentsand repairs on the Underground’s Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines inreturn for a 30 year revenue stream. Read next week’s issue for an interview with Tubelines’ HRdirector Andy GoodeParents’rights pushed Ministershave launched a campaign to remind millions of parents that they will soon beable to demand more flexible working hours from their employers. A telephonehotline will advise workers about their new rights. www.dti.gov.ukFlexibilitychoiceAthird of jobseekers would rather have flexible working options than receiveextra cash, according to research by the Department of Trade and Industry. Thesurvey, carried out in conjunction with recruitment website reed, also findsalmost half of the 4,000 respondents look for flexible working hours whenhunting for a new job. www.reed.co.ukNewjobs disappointMorethan half of employees strongly regret accepting a new job immediately afterjoining a new organisation, finds a survey. The study also reveals 26 per centof respondents voluntarily left within one month because they were sodisappointed with their treatment. www.uknetguide.co.uk Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. …in briefOn 7 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today
A UK call centre is hoping that a new skills-based pilot scheme designed toimprove competency will cut staff turnover by more than 20 per cent. Contact 24 will be the first company to implement the framework –Call2Contact – which has been designed by e-skills, the employer-led body setup to improve call centre skills. The programme has identified a range of competencies required for callcentre roles and linked them to training to help staff develop a career path. Helene Thomas, organisation development director at Contact 24, said thescheme would help change the perception of call centre work as ‘dead-end jobs’.”We are launching a credible training and development programme that helpsour employees recognise their job as a worthwhile career,” she said. “It’s about identifying competencies and helping people get to theright level in the business.” The pilot scheme enables HR to see what skills each member of staff shouldhave and enables employees to know what training they need to move up theladder. Thomas hopes it will deal with staff turnover problems in the sector and isconfident she can cut attrition from 46 per cent to around 25 per cent. The firm, which employs 1,000 staff, is rolling out the programme in Apriland will use the training to provide staff with NVQ certificates. www.e-skills.com Previous Article Next Article Call centre initiative aims to boost competency and cut staff turnoverOn 14 Jan 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed.
Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Airport initiative gives staff a sayOn 4 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Manchester Airport has created 12 new training champions to give employees asay in shaping the range of in-house and external training opportunities. The new initiative is being spearheaded by head of training ElizabethJovanovic. She said the aim is for the champions to become the communicationlink between the training department and the airport staff, especially those inworking in operational areas. “The new training champions are a brilliant way of exchanginginformation and ideas about training. They will be the key training contact fortheir department and will assist in evaluating the training that isgiven.” Chairman of Manchester Airport, Brian Harrison, has given his support:”Training has always been a high priority at the airport, but we were keento get the staff more involved in choosing what types of courses would beuseful to their career development,” he said. The training champions come from several departments across the company andwill meet on a regular basis.
Employers are so busy complaining about the culture ofcompensation, they have failed to notice that tribunal claims have been infreefall for some timeLeviathan is a sluggish beast. The various tentacles of government arenormally the last to wake up to important social trends, but when they do,those trends instantly assume a significance that they never had before. True to form, the Better Regulation Task Force has suddenly decided toinvestigate the presumed ‘compensation culture’ at work (see Personnel TodayNews, 22 July), to the delight of the CBI and chums. It hopes to answer whatsounds like a very leading question: whether litigation is the most effectiveand efficient tool for making amends. So I have a better one: why on earth now? The time for a probe into tribunalapplications, awards and settlements was in 2000. Claims that year leapt byalmost 30 per cent. If only the taskforce’s chairman David Arculus had waited afew days before announcing his inquiry, he could have had the benefit ofperusing the annual report from the Employment Tribunal Service (ETS) – andwhat a revelation that would have been. The ETS annual report confirms the number of people hauling their employersbefore tribunals has now been falling for two consecutive years. A total of98,617 applications were submitted in 2002-2003, as opposed to the peak of130,408 in 2000-2001. There have been significant drops in all the major claimareas, except disability discrimination and failure to consult on redundancies.Obviously, this goes against the popular perception. From all thosenewspapers reports about City of London superwomen taking on the pinstripedbrethren over equal pay, one would assume they represented a growing phenomenon– the papers often purport to examine why more women are complaining aboutunfair pay. Alas, it is not true. The number of equal pay claims has more than halvedsince the year 2000 to just 3,077. A mere 8,128 people complained primarily ofsex discrimination in their applications last year. And it is perhaps worthreciting another little appreciated tribunal factlet – just 13 per cent ofclaims make it all the way to a hearing (38 per cent are settled beforehand, 32per cent are withdrawn and the rest fall by the wayside). All those pious inquiry-sitters doubtless like to think they are unswayed bythe swirls and sallies of the public mood, preferring the vocabulary of cold,hard fact. Nope. They have been succoured by the business lobby’s hyperactivespin machine. The taskforce will be investigating something that brieflyexploded and now seems to be ebbing away towards a long-term trend. Of course, the chances are that the total number of applications will riseonce more. New anti-discrimination laws on religion, sexual orientation and agecoming up towards 2006 may see to that. But the crucial point of the ETSfigures is that they cast doubt on the very existence of a burgeoningcompensation culture. Despite the multiple changes to employment rights since 1997, the idea of aninexorably rising tide of claims from embittered workers has been shown to beafiction of the paranoid employer’s imagination. The truth about tribunals is more prosaic. If employees can move easily intoother jobs, the chances are not that many will pursue the immense emotionalhassle of a tribunal claim, even if they ought to in the interests of justice.Tribunals have far more to do with the economic cycle than any mass pathologyof revenge. And so it follows that the best way to reduce them is to ensure ahighly competitive, mobile labour market. As I’ve said before in this column – to bouquets of abuse, naturally – Ithink employers have made a disproportionate fuss about the growth ofindividual rights cases. Some 100,000 or so workers submitting complaints totribunals out of a workforce of getting on for 28 million does not sound like acompensation culture running amok. That is a point often made by theconciliation service Acas. It is no good a society having batteries of newemployment laws and then furiously protesting when people decide to use them. And then the expansion of individual rights needs to seen against thebackground of the decline in the relevance of collective rights. Employers are no doubt pleased that industrial relations are now employmentrelations; the critical productive relationship is between employer andemployee, rather than employer and trade union. Increasing use of individualrights is surely an eminently reasonable price to pay for the decline in theuse of collective rights. Seeking an utterly cowed, compliant workforce may bethe secret desire of some employers, but to me, it sounds suspiciously likehaving one’s cake and eating it. Yet if the taskforce could do with being less dopey, and the CBI withdisciplining its urge to spin, the true shame from the dip in tribunal casesmust be belong to the Department of Trade and Industry. Much of the Employment Act 2002 was aimed at dissuading employees frompursuing applications, by encouraging them to trust in the untested justice ofinternal grievance procedures instead. But if tribunal claims have now fallensignificantly of their own accord, wasn’t it all a complete waste of time? All the resources of the state have been put to the task of exorcising thedemons of a compensation culture that were never there in the first place.Sedating the lowest common denominator in the business lobby became, briefly, apolitical priority. Taxpayers are the ones who should be compensated. Previous Article Next Article Hunting compensation culture demons that were never thereOn 5 Aug 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.