Retailers link up with law firm for HR-focused forum

Homeware chain Ikea, children’s clothing retailer Adams and law firm Pinsents have created an HR forum for the retail industry.

Ikea and Adams both felt that although other HR forums already existed, the retail sector needed an industry-specific group.

“Getting together with other industries is interesting, but we are talking apples and pears as we have different issues.

“This forum is useful as it gives us a chance to share views and talk about common issues such as impending legislation,” said Sue LaVerne, director of HR at Adams.

Suzanne Gordon, UK employee relations adviser at Ikea, said: “We have many similar issues, such as trading patterns, customer demands and large numbers of part-time workers.

“It is fantastic to share good practice and look at impending legislation and tried and tested approaches with a retail perspective.”

At the forum’s first meeting, 12 senior HR professionals from other large retailers – including DIY firm Focus – discussed recent legislation on flexible working, and the staff consultation laws, which are due to be introduced in April 2005.

Delegates expressed frustration at the information and consultation regulations, which are still at the planning stage, and were unsure whether their existing agreements would comply.

Age discrimination and managing long-term sickness absence are the two topics chosen for the forum’s next meeting in March at Ikea’s headquarters in Brent, north London.

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