…in brief

This week’s news in brief

Political equality Act

A new Act has been passed to boost the number of women MPs in the UK, which
has the lowest proportion of female politicians in Europe. The use of
women-only shortlists by the Labour Party was ruled unlawful in 1996, but the
new Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act allows political parties the
freedom to introduce positive measures when selecting candidates.  www.womenandequalityunit.gov.uk

SWT dispute settled

The South West Trains dispute with the RMT union has come to an end after
the company and the union came to an agreement over pay demands. An RMT
spokeswoman confirmed the union is having talks with the company about future
aspirations, particularly around the October 2002 pay review.  www.rmt.org.uk

Pay deal derails strike

Two tube strikes planned for this month have been cancelled following an
agreement between London Underground and the RMT and Aslef unions over driver
pay. The pay deal means tube drivers will receive a 1 per cent increase in
April, 1 per cent in August and a further 3.7 per cent increase in October,
taking their salaries to £30,402.  www.rmt.org.uk

TUC warns on RSI

The TUC is urging employers to inspect the workplace and assess the risk of
Repetitive Strain Injury following the release of damning new figures. Research
by the TUC shows one in 50 workers is now suffering from the symptoms of RSI,
which include joint pain and immobility. Last year over 5.4 million work days
were lost to RSI.  www.tuc.org.uk

GP appraisal system

The nation’s 28,000 GPs now have to be appraised by another doctor as part
of an NHS drive to ensure higher quality patient care. The new assessment,
developed with the British Medical Association General Practitioners Committee,
aim to benefit GPs by providing feedback on performance and identifying areas
for development. The system will be launched in April.  www.doh.gov.uk

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