HR news round-up: HR stories making the headlines 31 August 2010

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

Unemployment is set to breach the psychologically important 10% mark over the next five years – but only in the north, the Independent reports. Think-tank the Centre for Economic and Business Research has warned that a combination of public-sector spending cuts, sluggish private-sector growth and possible slowing demand for British exports will further ingrain existing geographical disparities in wealth, with the north of England being particularly affected.

North-East newspaper the Sunday Sun reports that former royal protection officer John Wynn, accused of making death threats against his boss, has won his case for unfair dismissal. Wynn claimed damages from the North East Aircraft Museum, denying that he had made the alleged threats and saying that employment law was not followed prior to his dismissal for gross misconduct. After three weeks of deliberation, the tribunal ruled that museum bosses had dismissed him unlawfully and ordered a four-figure compensation payout.

Virgin Atlantic is facing showdown talks with pilots, reports the Daily Mail, as it tries to avert a strike in a dispute over the scheduling of days off. The British Airline Pilots’ Association said it would hold crisis talks with Virgin next Monday, but is prepared to move to industrial action if the talks are unsuccessful. A spokesman for the union said pilots were “upset” because Virgin had “reneged” on an agreement to give them a minimum of 10 days off per month, rostered in advance.

The Guardian reports that supervisors of offenders on unpaid work schemes are increasingly being subjected to threats, and verbal and physical abuse, with many complaining of feeling intimidated and afraid, according to a survey by the National Association of Prison Officers. Most of the threats are made by the offenders, but in London there have been three shootings, allegedly by rival gang members, targeting those doing unpaid work who are not from their area.

Finally, the Daily Telegraph reports on western graduates seeking internships in China. It reports on interns getting to grips with the Chinese mind game of giving “face”, a near-endless and often opaque part of the social ritual that catches out even experienced foreigners doing business in China.

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