News in brief

Unison’s big winners

The UK’s biggest union has announced record levels of compensation for members injured at work in 2004. Unison won £37.39m for workplace injuries – up £3m from the previous year. The union accused employers of being willing to pay compensation rather than improve safety standards, despite being aware of the dangers.

Graduate pay rockets

Salaries for graduate positions will be higher than ever this summer, with graduates commanding an average salary of £21,997. According to the latest Graduate Market Trends report by Graduate Prospects, salaries range from £13,242 to 36,000. Positions in the management consultancy sector command the highest mean salary at £34,724.

Data to remember

The Freedom of Information Act came into full effect on New Year’s Day, giving individuals the statutory right to see a massive amount of information held by Government departments and thousands of public bodies. Public sector HR departments will now need to be prepared to answer these requests. Rosemary Jay, a partner with law firm Pinsent Masons, said HR should focus on training and process improvements.
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£7.5m claim rejected

A former Merrill Lynch worker has lost her £7.5m sex discrimination case against the US bank. An employment tribunal dismissed Stephanie Villalba’s allegations of sexual discrimination and unequal pay. But she won her claim of unfair dismissal, resulting from her sacking in August 2003. Her partial victory is likely to cap her award to about £55,000. weblink

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