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This week’s guru column

• The Government is leaving no stone unturned to try to win the public’s
affections. Now it apparently wants soap-opera writers to insert subliminal,
positive messages into their story lines. I can just imagine the scene now…

Phil Mitchell collars Ricky Butcher outside the Vic to ask him to put in yet
more overtime.

Phil: Oi Ricky.

Ricky: What?

Phil: We’ve got a load a’ new jobs come in the Arches and I need ’em
done by Thursday. Can you work late? I wouldn’t ask but Kaff’s coming round.

Ricky: But Phil, it’s been like this for 13 weeks. I’m doin’ more
than 48 hours a week and it’s not on. I know my rights.

Phil: What are you on about?

Ricky: Working Time regulations. If I work them hours you’re breakin’
the law. You can’t make me.

Phil: Please Ricky, I need you. You ain’t got nothin’ else to do now
Bianca’s gone.

Ricky: Don’t talk to me about her. Naah, I can’t Phil. It’s
compromising my health and safety and bound to increase the chance of workplace
accidents. Do you want the Health and Safety round?

Phil: Do me a favour. (Pause as he thinks to himself that he should
have made Ricky sign the opt-out when he had the chance). What if I make you
joint manager? You can coin in some of the readies from all these jobs.

Ricky: So I’ll be an autonomous decision-maker will I and excluded
from the regulations. Do you think I’m some kinda mug Phil?

Phil (grimaces. For the first time he can ever remember, Ricky has
got him sussed): Naah, mate. It’s not like that.

Ricky (butts in): And Phil, just because I’m a mechanic it doesn’t
mean I’m covered by the transport exclusion.

Phil (smiles grimly but reluctantly gives in): I don’t believe you
Ricky. I’m gonna have to get someone else in and sort out some new shift
patterns.

Ricky: I’m due four weeks holiday as of last November as well…

Phil: Don’t push it Ricky.

On the crest of a Royal wave

HR systems provider Compel informed us this week that it has been awarded
the Royal Warrant for having supplied the Royal Household with its personnel
systems for the past seven years.

You might imagine the Royal Household to be in that group of traditional HR
functions which have not streamlined their administration activities, and all
the other things personnel departments are duty bound to do these days. Not so.

"There is an excellent focus by the personnel staff on streamlining
administrative tasks and maximising the information output," says Martin
Elliott, Compel’s business development manager and holder of the Royal Warrant.
The company quite rightly views the award as something of coup.

Perhaps it should give Mohammed Fayed a call and ask him for the crest he’s
had to take off the front of Harrods.

Hello, is this the curse of Anuman?

Few people, apart from footballers perhaps, confess to being superstitious.
But in practice everyone is afraid of tempting fate or putting the kiss of
death on something.

The organisers of the recent Anuman partnership bash could be forgiven for
wondering if they trod on a rabbit’s foot while walking under a ladder when
they put together the programme.

I could not helping noticing that two of the most positive case studies on
employee relations presented at the conference concerned those bastions of UK
industry, BT and British Airways.

Both related how they are moving ahead with staff relations in dynamic,
growing organisations, and BT went so far as to saying job-cutting was at an
end.

One week later both announced major redundancy programmes. Some £14bn was
knocked off BT’s market value in one day of stock market trading as a result. A
warning to anyone considering a presentation at next year’s conference?
Potential speakers will be reassured that lightning can’t strike twice… touch
wood.

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