…in brief

This week’s news in brief

Cutbacks start to bite

The effects of the economic downturn have started to bite hard, as anxious
employers cut back on recruitment expenditure, payroll costs, business travel
and expense allowances, a new study finds. The report, by Cubiks, also reveals
the workplace of 2002 is proving to be particularly pressurised, with stress
levels soaring as people work longer hours to demonstrate commitment and avoid
redundancy.  www.cubiks.com

Firemen strike delay

The Fire Service National Employers body has acknowledged the Fire Brigades
Union’s claim for a £30,000 annual wage for professional firefighters, but
claims government must approve additional funding. The acknowledgement has
delayed possible strikes and further talks will be held on 6 June.  www.fbu.org.uk

LSC recognises union

The Learning Skills Council has signed a recognition agreement with the
Public and Commercial Services Union which will see the LSC, the organisation
responsible for all post-16 education and training in England, acknowledge PCS
as the only recognised union across all LSC sites.  www.lsc.gov.uk

Homes cash released

The Government has announced the allocation of starter home initiatives to
help 2,000 public sector employees working in housing hotspots outside London
to buy their first homes. Under the scheme, £20m of funding will provide
£10,000 equity loans to key workers, including 1,000 nurses and healthcare
workers, 700 teachers, 220 police and 80 other key workers, including fire
fighters and social workers.  www.number-10.gov.uk

‘MOT’ stress tests

The TUC will be conducting ‘MOT’ stress tests at UK workplaces during
European safety week between 14-20 October. Union workplace safety reps will be
using risk assessment and TUC checklists to monitor work-related stress and the
TUC will also hold a national conference on stress.  www.tuc.org.uk

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