HR news round-up: HR stories making the headlines 15 September 2010

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

Public sector workers are paid more on average than those in the private sector, according to the first comprehensive analysis of the pay divide by Britain’s national statistician. The Office for National Statistics found that full-time public sector staff earned an average of £74 a week more than those in the private sector, according to the Daily Telegraph. Once employer pension contributions were included, the gap rose to £136, “illustrating the generous pay-and-perks deals enjoyed by local and central government workers”, the newspaper suggests.

Hundreds of London bus workers are to protest at City Hall against government spending cuts which they claim will hit transport services, according to the BBC. The Unite union has said the coalition Government’s spending review next month will also affect wages. It is currently balloting members at a number of London bus firms for action over pay and conditions. Unite regional official Peter Kavanagh said: “Londoners deserve better than this. Rocketing fares, contracted mileage and wage freezes will lead to a return to the bad old days of clapped-out buses: more infrequent, more overcrowded, disappearing from outer London – and driven by low-paid drivers.”

Prison officers are threatening to break the law and go on strike against proposed public sector cuts, reports the Daily Telegraph. Steve Gillan, leader of the Prison Officers’ Association, said his members were prepared to strike – even though they are not allowed to by law. He told a fringe meeting at the Trades Union Congress: “If they are going to kick us to death we will take action irrespective of the legislation. The Government confirmed it was in talks with the prison officers’ association about its concerns over the scale of cuts. A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “The National Offender Management Service is in discussion with the POA over concerns around the Spending Review.”

The Government should treat public sector workers who lose their jobs in the recession in a more “humane” way, the Conservative deployed by David Cameron to build links with the unions said today. Richard Balfe, Cameron’s envoy to the unions for the last two-and-a-half years, told the Guardian that, while he supported the cuts, the Government should sympathise with the plight of people who are made redundant. The Government faces a “flashpoint” over pension reform, the one issue that unites most members of all the unions, he warned, adding that MPs should be “listening and empathising” with people through the spending reductions.

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