Global Newsround

first_img Comments are closed. Global NewsroundOn 1 Oct 2001 in Living wage, Personnel Today Features list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a… Previous Article Next Articlecenter_img Related posts: PhilipWhiteley reports on what’s happening in HR around the worldFranceM&S owns up to ‘shambles’ over staffAlainJuillet, head of troubled British retailer Marks & Spencer in France, hasbeen forced to accept that its handling of the planned closure of its 18 storesin France has been a “terrible shambles”.Inan interview with Le Figaro in August, he said he was “taken aback”by an announcement from the London head office on the planned closures.”That there have been errors of communication is the least that one cansay [about this case],” he said. Juilletdescribed the structure of the parent group as “very centralised, veryhierarchical and monolithic”. The challenge for chief executive LucVandevelde to restore the group’s fortunes is “a race against theclock”.Heaffirmed that M&S plans to sell all 18 French shops, and ensure personnelare transferred, but couldn’t guarantee that all 1,700 jobs would be saved.M&Screated a storm of protest in March when it announced the closures, and itcould face court action over alleged failures to consult with staff.PeterReid, an independent adviser to top European companies on works councils, saidthe saga reveals deep-seated cultural differences between the UK and France.”In France, the consultation system is about saving jobs rather than justconsultation,” he said. “The pressure is to strengthen theconsultation process, because there is a political desire to remove the abilityof companies to close plants and offices.”TheBritish view is that the level and extent of staff consultation depends on theemployer and each organisation should be allowed to develop its own approach ina voluntary way. Europeanemployers with more than 50 staff are set to be covered by a draft EU directiveon information and consultation with staff.www.lefigaro.frWorkingconditions slip as capitalism takes over in ChinaEmploymentconditions have fallen with the spread of private sector industries in China,according to an investigation by the New York Times. Statutoryconditions in China are on a par with Western countries, but in practice the44-hour working week and locally set minimum wages are ignored, the reportsaid. Conditions are particularly bad in manufacturing plants run by inwardinvestors, employing staff who have migrated from rural areas. “The supplyof labour vastly exceeds the demand,” said Zhou Litai, a lawyer inShenzhen who has represented workers in health and safety cases.Thereport quoted one trade union official as saying that there had been collusionbetween local government officials and factory managers, which has hamperedimplementation of worker-protection laws.www.nytimes.comTaiwaneseunemployment risesTaiwanhas seen unemployment soar in the past year. The economy contracted by morethan 2 per cent in the second quarter of 2001, and the proportion of thepopulation that is unemployed rose to 4.5 per cent, compared with just 2.9 percent a year earlier. TheUnited Daily News has reported that the jobless rate might break 5 per centthis year. The economy shows no sign of improvement and tens of thousands ofgraduates are about to enter the labour market, the agency said.Unofficialtrade strong in Argentina Alarge proportion of the Argentine workforce is in the informal economy,according to the national chamber of commerce. A report estimated that turnoverin unofficial trade through street vendors is around Ar Pesos 15bn (US$ 15bn),evading Pesos 3bn in losses to the labour market and taxes.Thestatistics reflect a national rate of unemployment which has increased in thepast year to 16.5 per cent, and is slightly higher, at 17.2 per cent in theGreater Buenos Aires region, the principal economic centre of the country. www.lanacion.com.arUSAReferendum bid launched to resist local wage floorBusinessesin a Californian city are organising signatures to authorise a referendum onlocal minimum wage legislation. Opponents of the Living Wage Bill in SantaMonica say the requirement for some larger employers to pay at least $10.50 perhour is unnecessary regulation and “pay-back to unions that supported mostof the council”, according to Herb Katz, of the employers’ campaign.Unionorganisers have planned their own “decline to sign” campaign,shadowing the pro-business group as it solicits signatures. The pro-labourgroup lobbied a farmers’ market, handing out pieces of pie, saying thatlow-paid workers “deserve their slice”. The employers’ campaign,known as FAIR, has spent nearly $200,000 on the protest, and received over$50,000 of in-kind contributions. www.worldatwork.comWesternEuropeManagers must learn from past on job cutsEmployersare failing to learn the lessons of past exercises in downsizing, HR expertshave warned, as redundancy schemes spread across the economy. TheHay Group reported that many organisations have declined to offer outplacementservices in order to save costs, and warned that they will have a damagedreputation when they start to hire again. “It makes people who are stayingrather nervous of their employer – there is quite a lot of resentment andanger; you never know when those former employees are going to be clients ofyours. Also, word gets out on the street that the organisation is not a niceplace to work,” said Susan Bloch, head of executive coaching at the HayGroup.Shesaid that the common practice of asking redundant employees to clear theirdesks and leave the building within an hour causes great upset and offers noadvantages to the organisation.Inthe case of the new economy, executives have often been inexperienced and wereanticipating endless growth, so were unprepared to deal with redundancysituations, she added.Companiesshould follow the lead of Cisco, which offered redundant staff the chance towork for a charity for a year on one-third full pay, she said.Redundancieshave spread from collapsing dotcoms to telecom firms and vehicle manufacturers.Unemploymenthas generally halted its downward slide in advanced economies. In August,German Chancellor Gerhard Schroder conceded that he is unlikely to meet histarget to reduce the country’s total of unemployed people to 3.5 million bynext year. The number increased to just under 3.8 million in July.www.worldatwork.comGermanyRed tape ties refugee postsMedium-sizedcompanies in Germany cannot afford to take on skilled immigrants because of thebureaucracy involved and the high level of the minimum wage, according to areport by an industry-financed economic research unit IW.Itsaid that the “green card” application process for a skilled employeeis time-consuming, and compounds the problems caused by helping the recruit tofind housing. However, the report also states that some employers have foundthat recent simplifications in the process have helped. The minimum yearlyincome of DM100,000 (around $45,000) was too high for some companies.Almost9,000 green cards have been issued in Germany to IT experts from outside theEuropean Union. The country has put a time limit of five years on the durationof the work permits, which the report indicated was a reason for low take-up asit inhibits career planning.www.faz.comUSACEO’s $10m severance payAseverance package has topped the $10m mark. Michael Bonsignore, departing chiefexecutive of Honeywell International, received the parting gift along with”generous pension cheques”, according to World at Work, formerly theAmerican Compensation Association. Bonsignorewas ousted by the board of directors in July, and details of his severancepackage emerged in a quarterly filing with the Securities and ExchangeCommission, the principal listed companies regulator in the US.LawrenceBossidy has been brought out of retirement to head the firm on a temporarybasis, on a salary of $2m, plus a target bonus.Highremuneration, particularly for executives who have not been deemed to haveearned them, are increasingly being questioned by investor groups andregulators in the US and the UK. Disclosure requirements have been tightened up.www.worldatwork.comCanadaCivil servants walk out over ‘double standards’Publicservice employees in Canada held three one-day strikes in August, causingconsiderable disruption to social security, immigration, agriculturaladministration and other areas. Thedispute focused on accusations of double standards, following the awarding of20 per cent pay rises to members of Parliament and 8.7 per cent increases forexecutives in the federal government, but only 2 per cent for unionisedemployees.InJuly, a conciliation board recommended that junior public sector staff be givena 3 per cent rise and a CA$1,000 signing bonus. “Thatis a minimum. They [the members] will not go below that,” said Nycole Turmel,president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the trade union involved inthe dispute.Thegovernment has signalled its willingness to restart negotiations on the matter.Talks were due to be held as globalhr went to press.www.lexis-nexis.comlast_img read more