… in brief

This
week’s new in brief

Employment
stable

The
latest Labour Market Statistics show the number of people in employment has
remained broadly stable over the three months to November 2003, although
average earnings fell slightly. Figures from the Office for National Statistics
show the working age employment rate remained at 74.6 per cent, with the number
of people in employment rising by 41,000 on the previous quarter.  www.statistics.gov.uk

Dates
for change

The
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has published the first annual statement
on changes to domestic employment law, including the introduction of common
commencement dates. The statement is the first step in adopting common start
dates for changes to employment law in a bid to help businesses implement
legislation. From 2004, domestic employment laws will only be introduced on two
days each year – 6 April and 1 October.  www.dti.gov.uk

Protection
for all

The
British Medical Association has called on politicians in Scotland to extend
measures aimed at protecting emergency services  personnel from violence to all healthcare staff. The Scottish
Executive is currently under-taking a public consultation to introduce the
legislation that would protect public sector workers including emergency
services personnel and A&E staff.  www.bma.org.uk

Call
for pay audits

The
GMB union is pushing for compulsory pay audits after research showed little or
no change in pay discrimination across the country. Worst offender is London,
with the capital’s average gender pay gap £200 a week. In South East and East
England it is £145, £91 in Wales and £90 in the North East.  www.gmb.org.uk

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