HR news round-up: HR stories making the headlines 16 September 2010

A round-up of HR-related stories in today’s newspapers.

The TUC has told a council to withdraw what it says are redundancy notices sent to 26,000 staff or face a “war”, reports the BBC. Birmingham City Council has written to employees to consult them about new terms and conditions, but unions said they had been told to accept the changes or face redundancy. Delegates at the Manchester conference unanimously backed an emergency motion condemning the move. The GMB union said that it was ready for a war, with Joe Morgan, the West Midlands regional organiser for the GMB union, saying that the council’s chief executive Stephen Hughes was a bully.

The chief executive of Bury council has dramatically resigned from his £193,000-a-year position, to ease a looming cash crisis, reports the Manchester Evening News. Mark Sanders believes his decision will help the council survive the recession and the Government’s cuts to local authority budgets, councillors were told. The council has unveiled proposals designed to save £28 million over the next four years. It is also facing a potentially multi-million pound payout after hundreds of staff won a battle for equal pay. Widespread job losses to balance the books have not been ruled out.

A BBC employee who claimed she was bullied after querying a £250,000 redundancy payout to a senior marketing manager has been paid £30,000 by the corporation after she dropped her claim at a tribunal. Indira Histon, a HR and development manager, told Watford employment tribunal that she challenged the £256,750 payment to Sue Lynas – equivalent to two years’ salary – because BBC guidelines said “management interest terminations” should be capped at one year’s pay, according to the Guardian. Lynas, the BBC’s former director of marketing, communications and audiences in the BBC’s audio and music division, was paid an annual salary of £128,375 until her departure last year. Histon claimed she suffered “detrimental treatment and bullying” after telling management the payment was excessive and a “misuse of licence fee payers’ money”.

Police officers in the UK are turning to microblogging site Twitter in the fight against crime. Neighbourhood bobbies are using smartphones to provide information about arrests, operations and daily patrols via Tweets, according to the Independent. They also post pictures and CCTV images as well as appeals about crime. An initiative has been run by Hertfordshire Constabulary since March but Greater Manchester Police – a far larger force – has announced it too will use Twitter in a move that looks set to be replicated across the country.

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