HR news round-up: HR stories making the headlines 14 September 2010

A round-up of HR-related stories in today’s newspapers.

Ethnic and gender monitoring should be carried out when public bodies axe jobs to prevent planned spending cuts having a disproportionate impact on minority communities, according to Diane Abbott. The Labour leadership candidate warned that a “last in, first out” approach to redundancies would hit black and female workers particularly hard and could set back race relations by a generation, risking “instability” in society, the Independent reports. She called for new requirements for local councils, Government agencies and quangos to be “mindful” of the race and gender distribution of any job losses they are planning as they respond to Treasury demands for large cuts in their budgets.

Public sector cutbacks could lead to riots, one of the country’s top police officers will warn this week. Derek Barnett, president of the Police Superintendents Association, believes the country is facing a “period where disaffection, social and industrial tensions will rise”, reports the Daily Mail. His views – outlined in a draft copy of a speech he will give to his organisation’s annual conference in Chester tomorrow – come just days after the Police Federation claimed the loss of up to 40,000 frontline police jobs because of Government cuts would be “Christmas for criminals”.

The BBC’s coverage of chancellor George Osborne’s spending review on 20 October faces disruption after broadcasting unions announced strike dates in their dispute over pension scheme changes. The National Union of Journalists, Bectu and Unite have rejected BBC director general Mark Thompson’s latest revised pension reform offer and confirmed two 48-hour strikes designed to cause maximum disruption to the corporation’s coverage of key political events this autumn, the Guardian reports. They intend to strike on 5 and 6 October, which would disrupt coverage of the final two days of the Conservative party conference, and 19 and 20 October, to coincide with Osborne’s announcement of the scale of government cuts in the Treasury’s public spending review.

Postal workers who were refused time off to celebrate a religious holiday are considering legal action against Royal Mail, according to the Yorkshire Evening Post. Muslim staff at the regional distribution centre in Stourton, Leeds, say they are usually allowed to take the day off to mark Eid-ul-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan. But around 50 workers who wanted leave to mark the festival last Friday were told they could not have the day off this year “for operational reasons”. They have warned they are prepared to take the company to an employment tribunal, alleging discrimination.

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