Global newsround

first_img Previous Article Next Article All the latest happenings in HR around the world, by Philip WhiteleySchroder denies costs of works council reformGerman chancellor Gerhard Schroder has denied that his Social Democratgovernment’s planned increases in rights for members of works councils will bea burden for business. The enhanced roles for the consultative forums, which were confirmed earlierthis year (globalhr April), give members the right to a say on environmentalissues, training and work organisation. Such a role “should be seen as astrength, not a weakness, by foreign investors considering Germany as abusiness location,” Schrîder told the Sonntag Aktuell newspaper. Works councils can often organise restructurings better than managementalone, he added. Unemployment figures fall in Spain and UKThe official rate of unemployment in Spain has fallen to 9.45%, the lowestrate since 1980. A reduction of 22,000 has taken the number without work down to1.6 million. In the late 1980s, the rate rose to around 25% of the adultpopulation in Spain. The centre-right government of Jose Maria Aznar hasclaimed the creation of 1.2 million jobs since 1997.A similar pattern has emerged in the UK, where the number out of work andclaiming state support fell below the one million mark in March, for the firsttime since 1975. The official rate under the wider definition is just over 1.5million. states propose more paid leaveEight states in the US have introduced bills that would provide pay foremployees on leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or for treatment of aserious health condition. Most would use state unemployment insurance funds tofinance the proposed paid leave. One state is seeking to levy a new taxdirectly on employers and employees. These laws were made possible by a regulation passed in President Clinton’ssecond term. The Society for Human Resource Management has challenged theDepartment of Labor regulation, arguing that it over-reached its powers inchanging the laws governing state unemployment systems. No ruling has yet beenmade.The eight states involved are: Arizona, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey,Oregon, Texas, Indiana and Washington State. www.shrm.orgBush intervenes in labour disputePresident Bush has signed an executive order preventing a strike atNorthwest Airlines. In the latest dispute to hit a US airline, talks betweenthe union Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association and management at NorthwestAirlines reached deadlock by mid-March, with the two sides at loggerheads on aseries of issues concerning pay, pensions and back-pay for mechanics, cleanersand custodians. The presidential order delays any industrial action from taking place beforethe middle of May at the earliest. Senior vice-president of labour relations,Robert Brodin, said he had made off-the-record proposals to unionrepresentatives which had been rejected.Skilled migrants leave USA number of skilled immigrant staff in Silicon Valley are now unemployed orin low-paid work, according to a report by the Society for Human ResourceManagement (SHRM). Just six months after the US Congress near-doubled the entryvisa ceiling to alleviate the technical skills shortage, the sudden economicdownturn has meant that many of those who have entered the US are struggling. Some skilled workers “are sitting idle for months or even going backhome”, says the SHRM. Of those in work, some are earning only around $250a week, which is far less than expected and well below the rates of a year ago.In October, the Congress increased the annual cap on the number of skilled-workervisas from 115,000 to 195,000.  www.shrm.orgSpanish unions gain access to company InternetThe Banco de Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA) has lost a high court case inSpain which means that unions will now have unlimited access to the use ofcompany e-mail to communicate with members on union business. The bank had argued that it complied with Spanish legislation requiringaccess to information by placing a message board for the use of the union. Itfiltered e-mail use, arguing that unlimited access could result in blocking ofthe organisation’s server.But the court agreed with the national union Comisiones Obreras that useshould be unlimited. There have been calls in Spain for the Workers Statute,which sets out the rights to information, to be updated to take account of newtechnology.  www.eiro.eurofound.ieEuro experts to look at employee relationsA high-level group studying the state of industrial relations in Europe hasbeen convened by Anna Diamantopoulou, the European Commissioner responsible foremployment. Ten experts from different backgrounds will look at industrial restructuringand how communities can cope with closures or major restructurings by industry.The issue is highly contentious in Europe and there has been fierceopposition from employers to the proposed right for employees to be consultedon any changes. The expert group will look at the quality of industrial relations andexamine how they can be improved, rather than sanctions and the law, accordingto Diamantopoulou.  www.eiro.eurofound.ieNepalese hotel staff take strike actionMore than 200,000 employees in the hospitality industry in Nepal began anall-out strike in mid-March. The strikers, members of several unions, want a10% service charge to be added to guests’ bills, with the proceeds distributedamong staff. Hotel managers in the Himalayan kingdom have been forced to prepare roomsand serve meals themselves as they refused to give in to the unions’ demands.Managers have claimed that the tourism industry – which is vital for thecountry – is struggling and cannot afford the increases, a claim denied by theunions. jobs crisis worsensThe outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in Europe has worsened theunemployment problems in Argentina. Around 700 jobs in farming and meatprocessing have been lost in the South American country because of the importrestrictions on meat.The job losses have been felt mostly in the Santa Fe region, from wherenearly 50% of food products are exported. These losses add to an already highlevel of unemployment in Argentina. hires more managers There has been a 12.5% rise in the hiring of managers in France in the past year,according to a study by Manager Employment Association (Association pourl’emploi des cadres). The rate of increase was three times that of the previousyear. Employers have been particularly keen to hire young graduates, theassociation reported. Just over 100,000 managerial posts had been created bythe 11,000 companies surveyed, compared with 66,000 in 1999.  www.lefigaro.frIndonesian Nike suppliers accused of abuseA non-government agency has accused managers at nine of Nike’s contractfactories in Indonesia of verbal, sexual and physical abuse. The pressure groupGlobal Alliance produced a report in which it said more than half the factoryemployees interviewed had witnessed verbal abuse, and that more than 10% hadseen improper sexual touching, with a similar proportion witnessing physicalabuse.Nike said the findings were “disturbing” and promised to addressthe matter. It buys from 25 factories in Indonesia.  www.cnnfn.comAsia’s skills shortages prompts training investmentsUS-based data storage company EMC has launched its Asia Pacific GlobalTraining Center in Singapore to address the shortage of storage specialists inthe region. The firm has invested S$5m (£1.9m) in the centre, which is itssecond in the region (the first was in Japan). It aims for 2,800 students by2003.In a similar move, Singapore Network Services plans to invest the sameamount over the next three years in a software development and training centrein India. The application service provider will build the centre in the heartof India’s burgeoning software industry in Bangalore. Global newsroundOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Managing casual labour relationships

first_img Previous Article Next Article A training package to help OH professionals cope with a workplace comprisinga mix of small contractors, sub-contractors and employees has been put togetherby the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health. Managing Client/Contractor Relationships is designed to examine the role ofclients and their relationship with contractors in the light of currentlegislation and best practice. It is designed to give a broad overview for those who have already attendedan IOSH Managing Safely course. It is also applicable to those who have to manage contractors, but who havehad no formal training. It can be received through IOSH’s training department, tel: 0116 257 3100. Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Managing casual labour relationshipsOn 1 Jul 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Volunteering experience is preferred

first_img Previous Article Next Article Most employers prefer to recruit candidates with volunteering experience ontheir CV, according to a recent survey. The research by recruitment specialist Reed Executive and volunteeringcharity TimeBank shows that nearly three quarters of employers are impressed byvoluntary work. Sixty per cent claim they are more likely to promote and givepay rises to employees who volunteer. But only one quarter of employers offer staff paid time off to carry outvoluntary work. This is despite over two thirds of respondents viewing employeevolunteering as a way to enhance the community profile of their company, claimsthe research. More than three quarters of the organisations surveyed ratingcommunity re- lations as important. “Businesses are now realising that voluntary work not only benefitsstaff, but also the company as a whole” said John Rafferty, chiefexecutive of TimeBank. More than 200 UK businesses were surveyed for the research. Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Volunteering experience is preferredOn 31 Jul 2001 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more


first_imgThis month’s lettersWho calls the shots? I was recently involved in an interview process with a company that wasrecruiting occupational health advisers. After an initial interview, a written exercise, teamwork activities and amedical, I was instructed to have a discussion with the group human resourcesrepresentative. This, I thought, would be an opportunity to ask about issues such asemployment benefits, conditions and requirements. Instead, I was interviewedagain – by human resources. One of the questions was: “How would youhandle a malingerer?” My shock and confusion at being asked this is still with me. Does the finaldecision on whether to offer a place of employment lie with the human resourcesdepartment? Do we need to have a business qualification? I have found this hard to comprehend. Is it the case that instead of workinghard towards occupational health degrees and diplomas it would be morebeneficial to do a business degree, perhaps doing a dissertation on explainingthe management of malingerers? Name and address withheld Good manners are not dead In reply to the letter asking “Are bad manners the norm?” (OHAugust), from an OH nurse who waited four weeks to find out whether they wouldbe offered a job, I would like to comment on the processes we have in place. We telephone the successful candidate and as soon as they have accepted thepost I personally call the unsuccessful applicants and give them theopportunity to get feedback from the interview process. I believe this is a useful exercise, not only because is it courteous tonotify people as soon as possible, but because the feedback helps unsuccessfulcandidates prepare for future interviews. I also feel that if unsuccessful candidates are notified in this manner, andthe preferred candidate eventually turns down the post, then there is still anopportunity to contact the runner-up. One final point: I would have thought that the unfortunate author of theletter should have received travel expenses. Jane Aston Senior occupational health adviser, Sandwell Healthcare NHS Trust LettersOn 1 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Will equal pay plans deliver?

first_imgThe Government unveiled its weapons to cut the gender pay gap last week, butthere are doubts over whether they will reduce the 18 per cent divide. The proposals include the right for women to know what male colleagues atthe same level are earning and the requirement for firms to include informationon employment and pay diversity in annual reports. The measures will be voluntary, but the Kingsmill review into equal paywarns employers that if they ignore the measures then legislation could follow.Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt unveiled the measures inresponse to findings from Denise Kingsmill, who the Government appointed toexamine women’s pay and employment. Hewitt also outlined plans to encourageorganisations to conduct equal pay audits. Nick Page, rewards adviser for the CIPD, urged employers to adopt atransparent approach to equal pay, or he said the Government could bring incompulsory legislation on pay audits. “We support the voluntary approach to equal pay audits because we feelit will be the most successful at this stage. But if there is no significantcommitment by employers to achieving equal pay in the next two to three years,the Government could revisit the issue and consider a legislativeapproach.” HR professionals doubt whether the measures will meet the Government’starget of eliminating the gender pay gap by the end of decade. Francesca Okosi, HR director at Brent Council, said, “They will go someway to helping reduce the gap, but will not significantly reduce it.” Frances Wright, HR director at psychometric test provider SHL, agrees.”Diversity reporting in annual reports would help as it puts everythingupfront so what is happening can be seen,” she said. “It is not theanswer to reducing equal pay, but it will certainly help bring large organisationsin line as they will not want to risk their reputations.” By Paul Nelson What HR must doEqualpay questionnaires:HR teams will prepare questionnaires including sections on pay,position, experience, time spent at company and qualifications, that staff canuse to benchmark their salaries if they believe they are being unfairly paid.Diversity reporting:Organisations will be expected to give percentages of womenemployed, recruited, retained, and promoted in the annual report.The reportwill also include diversity trend analysis.Equal pay audits:The aim is to determine the existence and extent of equal payproblems. It uses the pay system to identify men and women in similar roles andanalyse their pay for discrepancies. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Will equal pay plans deliver?On 11 Dec 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

C&W signs £40m outsource deal

first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. C&W signs £40m outsource dealOn 8 Jan 2002 in Personnel Today Telecoms giant Cable & Wireless has signed a £40m outsourcing deal withe-peopleserve to provide HR services to its 15,000 staff in the US and UK. C&W hopes to save £5m over the five-year contract through contractingout its payroll, HR administration, recruitment, e-HR delivery and parts oftraining. The company’s share price fell by nearly two-thirds on the FTSE100last year. C&W transferred 93 HR staff to e-peopleserve last month, and retained170 to run the strategic HR function, which includes internal communications,management and organisational development, and employee relations. Ian Muir, vice-president of group HR policy at Cable & Wireless Global,stressed that none of the HR team have been made redundant. He said, “The outsourcing move makes our HR more strategic and means weare able to consolidate the transformation of the past year. “It also makes transitional, backroom HR a variable ‘pay as you go’cost instead of a fixed one.” The role of HR staff within the company will change significantly, addedMuir. “Instead of just being the first port of call for employees’ queries,the HR role will be moved away from administration to working alongside seniormanagers to improve business performance,” he said. E-peopleserve was set up in June 2000 by BT and Accenture to provideoutsourced HR services to BT and other clients. last_img read more

Dispelling the five e-learning myths

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Dispelling the five e-learning mythsOn 9 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article E-learning has picked up its fair share of misconceptions. KnowledgePool’sPaul Butler sets the record straight. E-learning is a panacea that can replace traditional learning methods. E-learningwill never be a suitable learning method for all aspects of training and willfrequently fail to deliver if it is seen as a one-stop shop. It must form partof an organisation’s learning strategy and works best when it is delivered aspart of a blended training solution that may incorporate classroom-basedlearning, interactive learning, online support and mentoring. Employees mayfeel alienated if a personal or group-based training experience is suddenlyreplaced with what they perceive as impersonal technology. Technology and delivery infrastructure products are the most importantelements of e-learning. Many companies implementing e-learning have focusedexclusively on the technology and have forgotten the fundamental tenets oflearning itself. However modern, impressive and accessible it may be,technology cannot deliver a training programme on its own and companies whichhave simply installed technology and stood back, have seen their trainingprojects fail. Technology should never be prioritised over the content of whatis being taught. Engaging with the subject and connecting with the learning iskey to success. E-learning is only suitable for teaching IT courses to the technicallysavvy. E-learning is designed to be self-explanatory and easy to follow,especially if it is used in conjunction with online support and mentoring. Manye-learning programmes are designed to teach non-IT literate staff. E-learningis a highly effective way of delivering soft skills training such ascommunications skills, project management and managing budgets. Companies mustput communications and change programmes in place to ensure staff understandwhat e-learning is. Set time aside for employees to use e-learning withinternal support. Any content developer can become an e-learning company. During thedotcom boom, many content providers with no background in training, setthemselves up as training providers because they were able to deliver coursecontent with the help of technology. Content is only one part of an e-learningoffering and companies should ensure they select an e-learning provider with atraining and education track record if they want e-learning projects tosucceed. E-learning was only a flash in the pan. It is easy to dismisse-learning as another ‘crash and burn’ technology trend that is all hype and nosubstance. However, e-learning does have proven benefits, for exampleup-to-date content, convenience, consistency, flexibility and costeffectiveness. These benefits can be realised if e-learning is implementedstrategically, as a supplement to other training methods and with a fullunderstanding of how it works, what it can and cannot deliver. Paul Butler is CEO of e-learning provider KnowledgePool. www.knowledgepool.comlast_img read more

…in brief

…in briefOn 9 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today This week’s news in briefUS full employment The US could be looking at ‘full employment’ again within a year if itseconomy rebounds with even half the momentum of previous recoveries, accordingto analysis by employment consultant Watson Wyatt. To reach full employment theUS would need to see a pick-up in employment of just 1.2 per cent.   www.watsonwyatt.comCWU options open The Communication Workers Union is due to decide this week on what action totake in response to Consignia’s plans to cut 30,000 jobs over the next threeyears. The two sides hope to reach an agreement that will ensure the 30,000redundancies are voluntary. The move is expected to cost Consignia £400m.  www.cwu.orgPorters in walkout Porters and cleaners at Glasgow Royal Infirmary have staged a wildcat strikeover job cuts they claim could endanger patients’ lives, despite the GMB unionwarning against the move. About 100 workers walked out after 10 porters on temporary contracts withSodexho, the domestic services company at the hospital, lost their jobs. rejects pay offer Leaders at the Rail Maritime and Transport union have rejected a pay offerfor thousands of London Underground workers, and warn that industrial actionwill be taken unless an improved offer is made within the next two weeks. Thepay offers – a one-year deal worth 2 per cent or a three-year deal worth 2.5per cent now and at least 2 per cent in each of the following years – weredescribed as an ‘insult’. bias for women Women in the UK believe that racial origin limits their choice of jobs andaffects progression up the career ladder, according to a poll of 1,100 women bythe Commission for Racial Equality. Two-thirds of white and three-quarters ofnon-white women think race limits career choice. Only half the respondentsquestioned think the UK is a society based on equal opportunities. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. read more

Career file: Promoting faith in the future

first_img Comments are closed. Nick Wright, 42, T&D manager of Christian development organisationTearfund, explains why his job shows that theology and HRD are compatibleHow long have you been in this job? Five years – for as long as I have been with the organisation. What does your role involve? Tearfund is a Christian development and relief organisation employing around500 staff in the UK and overseas. My role involves leading a team of training& development specialists engaged in staff development at individual, team,group, leadership and organisational levels. What are the best and worst things about this job? It’s a real privilege to be part of an organisation in a role where mypersonal values and aspirations are so closely aligned with those of theorganisation and my work. The flip side is that there is a real danger ofpersonal burnout. Wisdom and discipline are very important survival factors. What is your current major training project or strategic push? We’re currently developing forms of leadership support, based on coaching,mentoring and action learning, that will help leaders deal with increasingdegrees of organisational and global complexity and change. What did you want to do for a living when you were at school? I think I swung from wanting to be a vet, to studying philosophy, tobecoming a social worker. What was your first job? Working as an apprentice in industry after leaving school at 16. I hated it.What was the best career decision you ever made? Leaving my industry job when I became a Christian at the age of 21. I movedstraight into community development and human rights work as a volunteer. What was the worst? It’s tempting to say starting my apprenticeship in the first place, but Ilearned so much through that experience. How and why did you become a trainer? By accident, really. I worked for another voluntary sector organisation thathad expanded beyond its capabilities and found myself running training eventsand reflective practice seminars to help reduce some of the terrible stressstaff were experiencing. Which of your qualifications do you most value and why? I studied BA Hons Theology at London Bible College and MSc Human ResourceDevelopment (OD) at South Bank University in London. The Theology course wasdefinitely the most difficult whereas the HRD course was the most inspiring.This fairly unusual combination of Theology and HRD has proved incrediblyvaluable in my line of work. What was the worst training course you ever experienced as a delegate? A very frustrating one-year course in supervision & consultation wherethe facilitators did very little in the way of effective facilitation. So manylearning opportunities were lost. Do you think that evaluation is the Holy Grail or an impossible dream? It really depends on what we try to evaluate. It’s right to try to evaluateimpact and there are things that can be measured tangibly. But there areimportant things that can’t be measured scientifically. I guess it’s a bit likethe age-old tension between reason and faith. How do you think that your job will have changed in five years’ time? I think there will be a growing shift away from a fairly conventionalsingle-organisation focus towards inter-organisational/international strategiesand approaches to staff and organisation development. What advice would you give to someone starting out in T&D? Think carefully about what attracts you to the role. My sense is that thereis increasing differentiation between three disciplines within the training anddevelopment profession, particularly a three-way divide between trainer,manager of training processes and consultant. What are your favourite buzz words? Organisation development, insight, reflective practice andtransformation.  Conversely, my leastfavourite word is probably ‘performance’. Racing cars and circus acts spring tomind. Are you good at self-development? I try to be, paying regular attention to my own spiritual, personal andprofessional development. Examples include working towards a certificate inpsychology of management, writing articles in various journals to have my ideastested in a public arena and receiving mentoring from an external consultant. Up close and personalHow do you network?I tend to network quite widely with people in similar andcontrasting roles and sectors, although maintaining active contact is somethingthat I do find difficult due to other distractions and work priorities.If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?What I’m doing now.Describe your management style in three words Intuitive, proactive, consultative.Do you take work home with you?No. Home time is primarily for my family.How would you like to be remembered by your colleagues?As a person of Godly vision, wisdom, influence and integrity.Where do you want to be in five years’ time?Wherever God calls me, but here in Tearfund is fineWhich courses and learning experiences have been most usefulfor you?Coaching by Rudi Weinzierl, a radical social worker in Germany.Exploring strategic horizons with ex-colleague Mike Wilson. Being mentored byBrian Watts, a freelance consultant. Learning to be a good husband and father.Which is the best management book?Images of Organisation by Gareth Morgan, published by Sage.Which training gurus ,management experts or business peopledo you most admire?Gareth Morgan, Edgar Schein and Peter Senge. Previous Article Next Article Career file: Promoting faith in the futureOn 1 Mar 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

EAT clarifies injury to feelings claims

first_imgEmployers cannot be held liable for distress or injury to feelings in unfairdismissal cases, the EAT has ruled. This issue was thrown into doubt by the 2001 House of Lords ruling inJohnson v Unisys,when Lord Hoffman suggested tribunals might be able to makeawards for injury to feelings caused by the manner of a dismissal, if thisbreached the implied duty of mutual trust and confidence. Since then, it has been common for former employees alleging unfairdismissal to seek compensation for damage to feelings, and some employmenttribunals have obliged. But in Dunnachie v Kingston upon Hull City Council and other appeals, theEAT has made clear that Johnson did not change the law and claimants areentitled only to compensation for the financial loss suffered. This contrasts with discrimination claims, where employees can receivecompensation for injury to feelings. “This is good news, ensuring that negotiations over dismissals can, inthe absence of discrimination, be kept relatively simple,” said AdamTurner, employment partner at Lovells. Previous Article Next Article EAT clarifies injury to feelings claimsOn 1 Jun 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more