HR news round-up: HR stories making the headlines 4 August 2010

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

Britain’s biggest companies made record contributions to their pension schemes last year in an attempt to shrink gaping holes, reports The Telegraph. According to a report from consulting actuaries Lane Clark & Peacock (LCP), FTSE 100 companies paid £17.5 billion into their defined-benefit schemes, representing a 50% rise on 2008’s £11.7 billion outlay.

Trade unions are planning coordinated protests against the government’s plans to slash public spending and cut hundreds of thousands of jobs, the BBC reports. The PCS civil service union is calling for a “day of action” on 20 October, to coincide with the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review. The union also wants the TUC to organise a huge demonstration on 23 October.

Job vacancies grew at the slowest pace for eight months in July. A survey by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) and KPMG found demand for staff dropped to 57.8 last month, down from 59.4 in June – the least marked growth since November 2009. Anything more than 50 represents an increase. According to The Telegraph, the research showed the number of people placed in permanent jobs also eased, although starting salaries rose for a ninth consecutive month in July.

Hospital waiting times have begun to rise again after years of decline following the introduction of European rules on junior doctors’ working hours, reports The Telegraph. The Royal College of Surgeons carried out the first comprehensive analysis of how the directive had affected waiting times, which had been dropping since the 1990s. But the EU rules, which cut junior doctors’ hours from 56 to 48 per week, had wiped out the gains, the Royal College said. Ministers are seeking to renegotiate Britain’s position on the European Working Time Directive, including a possible opt-out for NHS staff.

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