Idea of early grave dead in the water
Skills shortages are the bane of employers’ lives at the moment, as every company fights for a shrinking pool of talent. However, the mayor of a Brazilian town seems to have found a solution by deciding to bring in a law making it illegal for residents to die.

Mayor Roberto Pereira da Silva, of Biritiba-Mirim, said the idea was ostensibly because the town’s cemetery was full, but Guru knows he’s just pushing a progressive HR agenda.

Under the new law, residents who shuffle off this mortal coil prematurely face fines or even jail. It would be an offence for the town’s 28,000 citizens to not look after their health properly.

Asked why the cemetery could not just be extended, the mayor said: “Eighty nine per cent of the town is rivers. The rest is protected because
it is tropical jungle.”

Not only has the mayor solved any skills problems, he’s also given Guru an idea. Yours Truly is going to send yet another petition to the government, this time demanding that it follows Roberto’s lead. Surely there is no quicker way to solve our present health crisis than making unhealthy behaviour illegal? The simplest ideas are always the best.

Remember: voucher is its own reward
It is good to give recognition for what people do, but Guru feels things might be going a little too far.

We are already past the point of no return when someone sets up an awards ceremony to honour the company that threw the best awards ceremony. However, Guru couldn’t help but wonder if things took a step even further than that when a fanfare heralded this beauty:

In recognition of the enormous and powerful role of gift vouchers in industry, the Voucher Association, the industry leading body, has launched the VA Awards.

These new awards will add a major new event to the HR, marketing and sales promotion industries, when the winners are announced at the VA Awards lunch at The Brewery, London on Wednesday 26 April.

Categories will include: ‘The Use of Gift Vouchers as an Incentive for Field Sales or Account Management’; ‘Customer Acquisition in a Marketing Environment’; and ‘The Use of Gift Vouchers in an HR environment for Flexible or Voluntary Schemes’. There will also be an Award for the ‘New Gift Voucher of the Year’.

Then again it could just be Guru’s bitter streak coming through – whenever he asks people to vouch(er) for him they always politely decline. No-one appreciates an evil genius these days it seems.

Child’s play as kids strike over teachers
Sympathy strikes are hard to come by nowadays. Not only has the government rightfully decided that secondary action is something best consigned to the Dark Ages (otherwise known as the 1970s), but no-one really cares any more. Trade union membership is plummeting and recent research – carried out on behalf of Goodfella’s pizzas, strangely enough – show that people are more out for personal enrichment than ever before.

Maybe business should utter a sigh of relief that the era of beer and sandwiches and comradely love has at last been consigned to the dustbin. But don’t sigh too soon – support could be growing again at grass roots, or rather playground level.

A class of primary school students has gone on strike after they learned that their favourite teacher was going to lose her job.

The group of eight-year-olds, from the Novi Grad Primary School in Bosnia, has refused to go to school since hearing that substitute teacher, Fatima Sultanovic, would soon be leaving, due to the permanent teacher’s imminent return.

School officials have said there is nothing they can do, but the resolve of the children is strong and they say they will continue to stay away from the school. No-one is sure what happens next – perhaps a session of ginger beer and sandwiches? Perhaps it could get nasty and the kids will call a wild-kitten strike.

Looking on the bright side, it does reveal that union action is indeed child’s play.

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