Going newsround

first_imgGoing newsroundOn 1 Feb 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Mike Broad reports on what’s happening in HR around the worldEU directive forces rapid employerresponseEmployer bodies are urging companies to rapidly comply with the finalversion of the European directive on information and consultation agreed lastmonth. The new directive means that employers will have to inform and consult withstaff over changes to the business, such as restructuring and redundancies. Companies in the UK have until 2005 to implement the directive, but DianeSinclair, employee relations adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personneland Development, said employers who do not already comply should be examiningtheir approach to consultation now. “If companies act now to establish adequate procedures for informingand consulting their staff they may avoid having to set up a works council in ahostile environment,” she said. In a victory for UK business, EU countries have been given the right todecide which enforcement measures are used to ensure compliance. European unions push for pay risesFrance’s socialist-led governmentheaded off a wave of protests by the police in December by making bigconcessions on wages and working conditions. Other disgruntled professions areexpected to push large pay claims following the ease with which the concessionswere won. In Germany, the powerful metal workers’ union IG Metall hascalled for a pay rise of between 5 and 7 per cent this year, sparking concernsthat high wage settlements may delay the country’s economic recovery.Klaus Zwickel, chairman of IG Metall, believes the pay rise canbe met due to increasing profits in recent years. The wage negotiations in themetals and electronics industries, which are due to start in mid-February, willset the trend for pay negotiations in the chemical and service sectors.Gesamtmetall, the metal industry employers’ association,dismissed the demand as ignoring “economic reality”. But the unionappears unlikely to settle for less than 3 per cent. Economists criticised the union for endangering Germany’seconomic recovery. Klaus Friedrich, chief economist of Dresdner Bank, said:”Tougher international competition means companies are unable to pass onhigh wage increases to consumers via price increases.”www.ft.comEuro success paves way for more economic reformsEuropean policy makers are pushing for further economic reformsin the eurozone following the new currency’s successful launch. Rodrigo Rato, economy minister in Spain and new chairman of theeurozone’s group of finance ministers, claimed that people’s enthusiasm for theeuro showed they would support reforms to increase economic growth andemployment. He said: “This shows Europeans want economic changes asmuch as they want euros.”Rato identified the modernisation of goods and labour markets,more efficient and flexible tax systems and full integration of financialmarkets as important tasks. www.ft.comVenezuelan president stands firm on ‘revolutionary’ business lawsVenezuela’s president is refusing to change a range of‘revolutionary’ laws that are being opposed by businesses, unions and civilgroups. Thousands of businesses closed for a one-day strike in Decemberas staff and employers protested against a package of 49 laws decreed by PresidentHugo Chavez in November. Business groups, the Venezuelan Workers’ Confederation and arange of opposition civil movements claim the laws will curb investment, damagethe economy and lead to fewer jobs. The laws include one that allows the government to expropriateagricultural estates that are deemed to be unproductive, and another that willincrease royalty taxes in the crucial energy sector.www.ft.comWork conditions improve under trade investigationAn investigation into Cambodianclothes factories has led to improved working conditions and greater respectfor workers’ rights. The International Labour Organisation investigated staffworking conditions in its new role of monitoring the trade agreement betweenCambodia and the US. The trade agreement offers a 14 per cent increase in Cambodia’sexport entitlements to the US, providing it meets the ILO’s core labourstandards. The investigation also found that while some employees areover-worked and their unions face discrimination, there is no evidence of childor forced labour.The agreement is subject to annual review by the US Government.Juan Somavia, director-general of the ILO, believes moreenforceable standards are needed. “The global trade economy needs a floor of core labourstandards. It could take five years but labour rules are going to bethere,” he said. www.ilo.orgJapan cuts costs with job share arrangementsJapanese companies are embracing jobshares for staff to cut costs and stabilise employment levels, according to thehead of Japan’s largest employer association.  The unemployment rate hit a record 5.5 per cent in Japan inNovember, but Nikkeiren chairman Hiroshi Okuda believes it is unlikely to risefurther because of the willingness of companies and staff to explore jobsharing arrangements. Okuda, also the chairman of Toyota, said: “The Japanesepeople have been giving their support to Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi eversince he took office.””There are a variety of work-sharing and management-labouragreements being developed that will involve wage cuts.”He predicts that the Japanese economy will recover in thesecond half of 2002. “In the world economy, there have been indications ofJapan being swallowed by China. Japan must maintain superiority intechnology-oriented manufacturing and nurture human resources withcreativity,” he said. www.japantimes.co.jpUK directors top European pay leagueHR directors in the UK are the highest paid in Europe, researchby HR consultants Towers Perrin shows. The Worldwide Total Remuneration Survey claims that the averagebasic salary for an HR director working in the UK is 179,382 euros(approximately $159,478) – a year-on-year increase of nearly 11,317 euros. Whenbonuses and share options are taken into consideration, the average annual paypackage rises to 351,768 euros. Belgium comes next with an average total package worth 340,119euros. HR directors in France, averaging 239,606 euros and Germany 253,312euros, lag behind.However, European pay levels are way behind those in the US,where the average is 507,232 euros.Damien Carnell, principal of the executive compensation unit atTowers Perrin, said: “The US has a high-pay, high-performance culture andcompanies are quick to restructure and move people on if their performance isnot good enough – this is why it has the highest productivity globally.” www.towers.comA happy boss means productive staffBusiness leaders’ moods affect staff performance andconsequently the bottom line performance of their organisations, claimsresearch in the Harvard Business Review.The two-year study shows that dynamic and inspirational leaderscreate more productive employees, who believe any challenge is surmountable.However, bad-tempered, ruthless bosses create organisations full of negativeunderachievers.Emotional leadership is the most important task of chiefexecutives, claims the study. It calls on business leaders to perform afive-step process of self-reflection and planning to understand the impact oftheir moods and behaviour on their organisation.The questions executives should ask themselvesinclude: Who do I want to be? Who am I now? How do I get from here to there?How do I make change stick? And who can help me?www.hbsp.harvard.eduUK is a nation of full-time slackersMore than half of working time in theUK is spent unproductively, according to a recent study. The research, by management consultants Proudfoot Consulting,shows that in the UK 52 per cent of work time was spend unproductively,compared to 43 per cent in US, France and Germany. Inadequate or over complicated management was the singlebiggest cause – at 62 per cent – of lost work time among the 1,568 staffsurveyed. Low morale accounted for 17 per cent of lost time. www.proudfootconsulting.com Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more