Comments are closed. A Gulf war fighter pilot who was captured and tortured bythe Iraqis is using his harrowing experiences to help HR teams manage employeestress.John Peters hit the headlines when he was paraded on IraqiTV after being captured when his Tornado jet was shot down over Iraq 10 yearsago.Peters, who spent seven weeks in captivity, has now formed amanagement development company called UPH with former England rugby player RoryUnderwood and leadership expert Martyn Helliwell, head of the Royal Navysurvival school.Peters said as well as stress management his firmspecialises in developing leadership, communication, team building andmotivation. He said, “I don’t have a background in business but peoplerecognise that I know what I am talking about when it comes to stressmanagement and making decisions quickly.” Previous Article Next Article Gulf veteran’s company set to fight stressOn 23 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.
Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article This week’s guru.Justyou, me – and a few hundred othersSocpo’sKeith Handley came up with an excellent excuse last week for why he couldn’tspend his wedding anniversary with his wife at a romantic French restaurant. Hewas busy being inaugurated as the society’s new president.ButGuru was impressed with his multi-tasking abilities – his wife and childrenalso came to the Socpo conference dinner in Brighton. Gurumust remember that one when it comes to his own anniversary. “Darling,let’s go out for a fabulous meal at a top hotel to celebrate – just ignore the1,000 other people, the fact that I might have to stand up and make a speechand the possibility that everyone will keep breaking into For He’s a Jolly GoodFellow. “It’llbe marvellous.”Inhindsight, perhaps they overdid itGurufully supports events that encourage mentoring and new skills development, suchas Campaign for Learning’s Learning at Work Day on 17 May. He’ll personally beputting in a call to Royal Opera House, following his ballet exploits lastweek, to see if his talents are needed for a day. ButGuru is concerned firms like Specsavers might be taking “back to theshopfloor” days just a little too seriously. Ninemembers of the board squeezed into the Southport branch of Specsavers Opticiansto run it for a day.Whilethe official line is that the board members learned loads about the operationof the business and customers didn’t notice the difference, there are rumoursthat customers were quizzed over whether they wanted daily disposal contactlenses, monthlies, or a five-year business plan. Cafe‚ offers a little food forthoughtIndustrial disputeshave a familiarity the world over. But Guru was impressed by the standard ofcuisine being produced to support sacked Indonesian hotel workers.On a recent sojourn toJakarta, Guru visited the Solidarity Food Stall and tucked into Dim Sum ofStruggle for starters, followed by Stop the Dismissal Fried Rice. The cafe‚ makes adaily profit of £60 that is being used to support the struggle of 500Shangri-La Hotel staff. They want the hotel to take them back after threemonths of strike action for better pay. It definitely beatsthe rubbery bacon butties found on UK picket lines.Weall want to be spoilt at embassy Theglitterati of the training world were in attendance at the HRD Conference atOlympia last week.AsGuru chomped his way through a plateful of canapes at a launch do, he gottalking to a diplomat. Apparently,the Foreign Office is snowed under with job applications at the moment. Researchhas revealed that it is the public perception of diplomats sipping cocktailsand nibbling Ferrero Rocher chocolates for a living that is fuelling theapplications.Gurulaughed at their naivety, until he noticed that the diplomat was wearing awhite dinner suit, had a Scottish accent, and was drinking a vodka martini… GuruOn 10 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.
Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Rospa calls for action to slash deaths on roadOn 9 May 2001 in Personnel Today A health and safety expert has called for legal measures that will forceemployers to introduce risk management measures to protect company drivers. Roger Bibbings, an occupational health adviser for the Royal Society for thePrevention of Accidents (Rospa), said car and van drivers covering more than25,000 miles a year for their job were more likely to die at work than coalminers. Rospa said one in eight people driving this distance a year will die whileat work. This compares with deep-sea fishermen, whose mortality rate is one in750 and coal miners at one in 7,100. Bibbings said fatigue was the biggest contributor to road-related deaths andwas responsible for more deaths than alcohol. He thinks companies should be legally obliged to introduce safety measuresfor those who drive long hours in their jobs. These could include encouraging the use of other forms of transport,specifying safest routes, setting journey time and distance limits, selectingvehicles with additional safety features and driver assessment. Bibbings said many drivers fear reporting accidents to their companies,which is obscuring the scale of the problem. “Managing risk on road cannot be achieved by one-off interventions –organisations need to have policies, people and procedures in place,” hesaid.
The CIPD’s chief economist John Philpott said, “It hasclearly been a bad news week but what is not clear is whether there is stillmore bad news to come. These job cuts are still explained by problems inspecific sectors.” Further job cuts announced as slump continuesOn 11 Sep 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. British Airways said 1,800 jobs would go with moreredundancies to follow next year because of the downturn. In the IT sector themerger between Hewlett-Packard and Compaq Computers led to a reported 15,000job losses from the global workforce of 145,000. Previous Article Next Article The global economic slowdown continued to bare its teethlast week as major corporates announced large numbers of jobs cuts. And at Marconi a further 2,000 jobs are to go as the companyannounced the resignation of its chairman and chief executive. Comments are closed.
Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Bookmark of the month www.worldoftraining.comWorld of Training If you’re feeling the pressure of finding diverse training for a diverseworkforce, World of Training has the potential to ease the load by bringing togetherthousands of courses from hundreds of providers. The home page opens with asearch engine that lets you key in subject and location and, comfortingly forthose who’d rather make contact with a human being, it puts forward a phonenumber. The search returns a selection of courses and clicking on one of thesetakes you to in-depth information on that specific course, including who shouldattend, what they should learn, cost and location. If the course suits, you canbuy immediately from the site. If the search criteria isn’t met precisely,World of Training staff will search offline. Users register for free and thenget a personalised page reflecting areas of interest. The current phase ofWorld of Training concentrates mainly on face-to-face training, but it intendsto offer more e-learning material in the near future. Book mark of the monthOn 1 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Network goes liveOn 1 May 2002 in Personnel Today The SSDA has recently appointed its first chef executive. Elaine Essery asks new recruit ChristopherDuff to identify his prioritiesChristopher Duff, first chief executive of the SSDA (the Sector SkillsDevelopment Agency), is under no illusion about the magnitude of the tasks thatlie ahead. He knows the pressure is on, as stakeholders watch closely to seehow the SSDA shapes up and, under its stewardship, what impact the SectorSkills Council network will have on skills and productivity. When Duff took up his appointment on 19 April, only five trailblazer SSCswere appointed and his staff numbered just two transferees from the NTONational Council. So until the new body is able to take them over, DfES projectteams in Sheffield and London will continue to carry out SSDA functions. Not surprisingly, Duff has two main priorities: to keep the work being doneby the trailblazer SSCs and potential SSCs moving forward; and to get his ownteam up and running as quickly as possible. “A lot of good work is going on with the trailblazers and manypotential SSCs which are coming up quite quickly. I want to keep all that goingand keep it productive,” he says. Duff is unable to say when more SSCs are likely to be licensed, but hasencouraging words for bidders frustrated by the department’s apparent inertia.”We’re not in the business of holding people back,” he maintains.”If SSCs are getting up to the standards we’re looking for, we’ll pushthem on as fast as possible.” During the transitionary period, the SSDA is working with about 25expressions of interest, to help would-be SSCs meet requirements, and isexamining bids from NTOs for interim funding, which is available until Augustto ensure essential work continues. This process will help identify potentiallystrong aspects of the network and highlight where there may be weaknesses andpinpoint gaps. “We need to listen to what people are telling us they absolutely needto do in this period,” says Duff. “Once we’ve gone through all thebids for transitional funding, we’ll take stock of what we’ve committed to,what we need to commit to and what the likely issues are for the future. It’swhere there are worries over gaps in the network that I’d be mostconcerned.” The other priority for Duff is recruiting a capable team. He hopes to havehis four directors in position during May and June, and to advertise other jobsby the end of May. Over the next few months, the SSDA will progressively pick up more of itswork from the interim project team. “My plan is that, by September, the SSDA will have the capability totake over the running of all necessary functions. We’ll have the key staff inplace and will have made that transition,” he says. By September, the SSDA will also have moved into its new offices inWath-upon-Dearne, a regeneration area north of Sheffield. The full complementof 40 to 50 staff will not be reached until later. So what does its chief executive see as the role of the SSDA? It is, in a nutshell, to ensure that SSCs are effective and influential. Therole combines monitoring and active support. “On the one hand, we need tojudge the effectiveness and credibility of SSCs and make recommendations to theSecretary of State. On the other, we will be very supportive in getting thatnetwork up and running and working right alongside SSCs and would-be SSCs sothat everyone can be as effective as possible,” Duff explains. “It’snot in our interests to sit back and monitor – we’ll be actively working withthe network.” The SSDA will add value by identifying good practice, developing frameworksfor research, and highlighting and co-ordinating work around cross-sectorskills. Duff also wants to see a congruence with other bodies. “Crucially, andparticularly in our first two years, we will be co-ordinating the influence ofthe SSCs and the wider network with bodies that are providing learning – LSCs,UfI, RDAs – then drilling down from them directly to those bodies that areproviding learning on the ground, such as further education colleges andwork-based learning providers. I want to see SSCs having clout with theGovernment, suppliers of learning and other stakeholders – and I think theywill. The SSDA can facilitate that.” One way of doing so is through its board members, who were being recruitedat the time of going to press. “We’ve had a very good quality field to choose from and I’m confidentthat we’ll have a significant and influential board,” Duff says.”That will be a direct route into employers and networks of employers.There will be a lot of leadership and support so we can get out and harnessemployer enthusiasm.” Future perspective Duff sees employer involvement as a key factor in tackling the skills andproductivity agenda from both a national and sectoral perspective. He aims todevelop a strategic, forward-looking approach to addressing the main issues forthe future, rather than simply dealing with the present. Anxious to retain those employers who supported NTOs, Duff sees a greatopportunity to reach out to more influential employers and get them involved inthe new network. “With capable, strategic, well-funded SSCs, employers will be moremotivated and see a bigger return from their involvement. I have faith thattheir voices are going to be heard once things are up and running, but I’m wellaware that there are some transition issues we need to work on.” For Duff, the aim is to build on the strengths of the NTO network but makethat big step into something very new and different. And he is utterly positive.”I buy into the vision,” he says. “I absolutely think it’sdo-able and we can make a difference.”
Ambition: Energy is an initiative between employers and theGovernment which aims to beat skills shortages by training the long-termunemployed to fill 4,500 engineering vacancies. Related posts:No related photos. Energy sector push to help jobless fill skills shortagesOn 18 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today A number of major companies, including British Gas,TotalFinaElf and British Energy, signed up to the scheme after it wassuccessfully piloted by Centrica. Rod Kenyon, HR director at Centrica, said the initiative hasalready led to permanent jobs for four previously unemployed single parents. Energy is the latest sector to join the Ambition scheme, whichhas already started in construction, retail and IT. Companies involved in the scheme initially interviewpotential recruits and then sponsor course members, who remain on benefitsuntil they qualify. “It is an added route to get people back into work. Itis good for the Government because it helps reduce the number of long-termunemployed and is a way of training people and getting them into employmentquickly.” “It helps us recruit trainees to become engineers at atime when there are skills shortages. The initiative will let us recruit fromnon-traditional areas,” he said. An initiative has been launched to help single parents andthe long-term unemployed find jobs in the energy sector following a successfulpilot scheme. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Centrica has a number of part-time positions available forAmbition: Energy students and Kenyon said the firm is also looking to introducea lifestyle contract allowing single parents to choose their own hours.
Previous Article Next Article Asbestos compensationOn 1 Jul 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Earlier reports that the floodgates for litigation would open following theLaw Lords’ ruling on victims of mesothelioma may well prove to have beenexaggerated, by Nic Paton Historic, landmark, groundbreaking, the most significant decision in thehistory of industrial disease compensation, was how May’s ruling by the Houseof Lords in the cases of three people suffering from asbestos-related diseaseswas described by the media and commentators. The judgment, it was claimed, would open the litigation floodgates forlitigation for thousands of people with such illnesses contracted through theirworkplace, and cost insurers billions of pounds in damages. Now the dust has settled somewhat, the reality, it appears, is a little moreprosaic. The ruling by the five Law Lords – the highest court in the land –headed by Lord Bingham, overturned an earlier Court of Appeal judgment thatargued that compensation could not be paid to workers exposed to asbestos dustby more than one employer. The Fairchild case The Lords were primarily considering a case known as the Fairchild case. Itwas a claim backed by the construction union Ucatt brought on behalf of JudithFairchild, whose husband Arthur died of mesothelioma in 1996. Arthur Fairchild had been exposed to asbestos while working for Leeds CityCouncil in the early 1960s and later for the games maker Waddingtons. The claim for compensation had been rejected by the High Court andsubsequently by the Court of Appeal. Had she lost in the Lords, Fairchild wouldhave faced a legal bill of around £1m. Instead, she will now receiveapproximately £191,000 in compensation. Two other claims were also considered. The first was that of Doreen Fox,widow of Thomas Fox, who worked for a firm called Spousal (Midland) and forseveral employers at Liverpool docks. The third claimant was Edwin Matthews, 54, from Rochester in Kent, who isdying from mesothelioma. Matthews had been awarded compensation of £155,000 by the High Court, butthis was overturned by the Court of Appeal ruling. A former factory worker, hehad brought his claim against two employers, Associated Portland Cement andBritish Uralite. Ucatt, perhaps inevitably, hailed the decision as a momentous victory, andone that could cost British businesses between £6bn and £8bn. Implications for employers Union leader George Brumwell said: “This judgment will help tens ofthousands of sufferers from the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma and willteach the insurance industry a lesson it will never forget.” But personal injury lawyers were more circumspect about the importance ofthe Lords’ decision and its implications. Adrian Budgen, head of the asbestos diseases unit at solicitors Irwin Mitchell,a company that handles many asbestos-related cases, was frank about itsramifications. “This is not going to open the floodgates. The cost is morelikely to be closer to £200m to £300m. It is very easy to talk about hugenumbers and big figures, but we are not talking about billions of pounds – thatis scaremongering. “Really, what the Law Lords have done is go back to how the law wasbefore 1 February last year,” he explained. The earlier Court of Appeal ruling took the view that if you had a casewhere there was more than one wrongdoer, some of which may have since gone outof business, then it was wrong that the surviving firms should have to pay forthe negligence of others. What Lord Bingham and his colleagues decided was that, if a person sufferingfrom mesothelioma had been exposed in several places then rather than saying itwas not possible to prove which of those companies contributed, all defendantsshould contribute because they all exposed the claimant. “All defendants who are sued then pay, so the claimant will receive 100per cent of damages,” said Budgen. Full judgment awaited The rarity of this case was not so much in the ruling itself, but the factthe Lords revealed their decision before publishing their full written ruling. Until that full judgment is available, the ramifications for OHprofessionals will not be completely clear. But it is likely the mainimplication will be in how far this judgment applies to other similarindustrial diseases. Because of the stringent laws now covering asbestos, cases involvingmesothelioma are by and large historical, going back decades. This is less soin cases of, say, asthma or vibration white finger, both of which couldfeasibly come under the remit of the ruling. Companies might also have to takean even closer look at the due diligence procedures surrounding the transfer ofbusiness, potential risks and liabilities and so forth. “It would seem that the Fairchild principle would apply to any cancercase or asthma case. It is any injury that would be cumulative,” assertedBudgen.
Previous Article Next Article EEF sends delegation to change temps directiveOn 3 Sep 2002 in Personnel Today Officials from the Engineering Employers’ Federation are travelling toStrasbourg tomorrow to join forces with their German counterparts to call forchanges to be made to the draft EU Agency Workers’ Directive. The EEF is concerned that the directive, which as currently drafted willgive temporary workers the right to the same pay and conditions as permanentstaff after six weeks in employment, will damage UK workforce flexibility. The delegation, which will also include representatives from the EEF’smember firms, will meet with the Socialist MEP responsible for the directive,Ieke van den Burg, and her counterparts from the Conservative, Liberal andGreen groups. David Yeandle, deputy director of employment policy for the EEF, said theemployers’ body and its German sister organisation would be calling for memberstates to be given flexibility in implementing the directive. Yeandle said the EEF wants temporary workers’ pay and conditions to becompared with other agency workers, not permanent staff. If this is not acceptable to the European Parliament, the EEF is calling forthe qualification period, when agency workers’ pay and conditions must matchthose of permanent staff, to be extended to at least 12 months. Yeandle also said that the agency workers directive as drafted would make itharder for EEF members to employ specialist temporary staff who are wellqualified and rewarded. “The three or four individual companies which will be attending themeeting will be able to raise the real practical difficulties they will face asthe directive stands, and its impact on labour market opportunities,” hesaid. The directive will have to be considered by the European Parliament and theCouncil of Ministers before it is implemented. www.eef.org.ukBy Ben Willmott Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
Related posts:No related photos. Case round-upOn 26 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. This week’s case round-upTips can count towards wages Nerva and others v United Kingdom 2002, IRLR 815 ECHRn The applicants were all waiters. Any cash tips from customers were collectedand distributed to waiters proportionately at the end of each week, but anytips left by cheque or credit card were paid to the employees as part of theirwages. These tips were described as ‘additional pay’ on payslips, and weresubject to PAYE deductions.The employees sought to challenge their employer’s practice ofcounting the tips towards their statutory minimum remuneration. The Court ofAppeal held that legal property in the cheque and credit card tips passed fromthe customer to the employer, and could therefore count towards the minimumremuneration.The employees complained to the European Court of Human Rights,alleging that the Court’s decision was contrary to the right to peacefulenjoyment of possessions, under the Convention on Human Rights.The ECHR ruled that there had been no breach of the employees’convention rights. The employer had complied with its obligation to pay aminimum wage, and the employees could not claim that their remuneration shouldbe calculated without tips.While the legal basis for this decision appears sound, thebroader moral question of customers’ intentions when leaving tips was alsoconsidered by the court.Transsexual discrimination A v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police and another 2002, EWCA Civ1584, Court of Appealn The legal rights of transsexuals have been further reinforced by this recentdecision.Ms A, a male to female transsexual, applied to join the police.Her application was declined on the basis that she would be unable to performall the required duties, since she remained legally male and would not be permittedto search female detainees. Ms A brought a claim of sex discrimination. The police arguedthat conformity of legal and apparent gender was a “genuine occupationalqualification” for the job (s7(2) Sex Discrimination Act 1975), but thetribunal disagreed. The police successfully appealed to the EAT. Ms A appealedto the Court of Appeal, citing the recent European case of Goodwin v UK, whichruled that a post-operative male to female transsexual was entitled to beregarded as legally female. The appeal was upheld. Following Goodwin, it was nolonger possible to regard Ms A as being other than female, except perhaps incircumstances where there were significant factors of public interest to weighagainst the interests of the individual. The police could not refuse Ms Aemployment on the grounds of her transsexuality and should treat her as theywould any female applicant.