International news in brief

This week’s international news in brief

Aussie court backs airline’s song and dance routine

Airline Virgin Blue’s right to request a song and dance from candidates as
part of its recruitment process has been upheld by the Queensland Anti-Discrimination
Tribunal in Australia. Following assessments in which they were asked to sing
and dance for flight attendant positions at the Australia-based airline, 10
mature candidates claimed the process discriminated against older candidates,
and that younger people would be able to meet the requirements more easily.
However, the tribunal dismissed the case, pointing out that the ability to sing
and dance is not dependent upon age. It also pointed out that Virgin Blue
actually rejected more candidates aged between 18 to 22 than aged between 43 to

US wants diversity but lacks the means to attain it

Most US staff think diversity is good for business, but few feel their
companies possess constructive plans to attain it, according to a report by the
New York-based National Urban League. It surveyed more than 5,500 staff over
two years and found that while 80 per cent said they were comfortable working
in diverse groups, only a third felt their companies’ programmes were
favourable, and less than half felt diversity was part of their corporate
culture. White staff viewed company efforts least favourably, while executive
perceptions were 28 per cent more positive than those of the overall workforce.
The report attributed this to "viewing their companies through different,
perhaps rose-colored [sic], glasses".

Staff to benefit as Morocco approves work reforms

Morocco has approved new labour regulations, with the US claiming its recent
trade agreement with the North African country encouraged its government to
pass the reforms. The regulations raise the minimum employment age from 12 to
15, reduce the standard working week from 48 to 44 hours (with overtime rates
payable for additional hours), and insist upon regular reviews of the minimum
wage, which rose by 10 per cent on 1 July. Health and safety rules have also
been improved, the employment of disabled workers will be encouraged, and
employers have been banned from disciplining staff for being union members. The
US Trade Representative Office claimed the "prospect of a free trade
agreement… helped forge a domestic consensus for labour law reform that had
been stymied for more than 20 years".

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