Letter of the Week
Red for danger or open door policy?

There is a worrying safety aspect to your report of the red waistcoat
dispute on South West Trains (News, 24 April).

The rail employee pictured has clearly become so despondent and distracted by
the problem that he is signalling away the train despite one of the carriage
doors being wide open.

For the sake of South West Trains passengers, this dispute needs settling
before lives are lost!

Paul Whittle
Woking, Surrey

Should Tube staff be able to strike?

I refer to the survey question on personneltoday.com that, "Tube
strikes stop nurses and doctors from getting to work and also cost money.
Should tube workers be allowed to strike?" (News, 24 April). A bit of
loaded question isn’t it?

Strikes are an indication of the state of industrial relations – to stop
certain workers from taking strike action just serves to mask serious problems
and issues.

It also makes it almost impossible for tube workers to highlight safety
issues that it is in all our interests to be aware of, private industry

So this is a "No" vote!

Anne Wardrobe
Personnel assistant, Institute of Neurology, UCL

Tube strikes are also over safety

Employers should remember that the tube strikes are being implemented not
only to safeguard RMT members’ jobs, but also to protect the public from the
safety risks that the Government’s proposed public/private partnership may

Employers should applaud the fact that RMT members were prepared to take a
drop in income (no matter how slight) to highlight these very real dangers.

And is it really that big a deal if staff work from home or have an extra
day off? You would have thought most people would have appreciated this.

Bruno Davey
Via e-mail

See more letters on this issue at www.personneltoday.com

Idea is to extend HRD, not save cash

I would like to clarify a few points following your article on the new
e-learning initiative between the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) and
the Epic Group (News, 18 April).

This initiative aims to extend the capacity of existing HRD programmes in
councils by enabling them to produce their own e-learning content and share in
that produced by other authorities.

It is not a means of driving down existing budgets, which are already
severely stretched, but a new way of bringing extra resources to HR

The picture caption stated that e-learning would save £500m, which is the
estimated annual spend by councils. This is not the case or the objective of
the project.

Further information can be found at www.idea.gov.uk

Susan Biddle
Head of workforce development Improvement and Development Agency, London

B&Q man mustn’t feel like a failure

Including the headline, the story on B&Q’s recruitment process mentions
three times that the unfortunate Filer "failed" a psychometric test
(News, 24 April).

As far as my colleagues and I recall, there is no such thing as
"failing" a psychometric test.

Whenever I visit my local B&Q store, it strikes me that it could use a
shot of Filer’s initiative. But then, rules is rules, procedures are procedures.
Whatever happened to the concept that psychometric testing was only part of the

Denis W Barnard
Director hrmeansbusiness.com, Suffolk

M&S was caught between two laws

I read with interest your Comment concerning M&S’s recent difficulties
in France (18 April).

These issues are again a result of a UK company’s legal responsibility to
announce decisions such as these to the Stock Exchange first – versus EU
employment law, which makes it clear that an employer’s responsibility is
firstly to consult with its employees.

Dawn Perkins
Via e-mail

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