…in brief

This week’s news in brief…

Engineering skills gap


Britain’s roads, railways and infrastructure are being jeopardised by difficulties in recruiting engineers, according to a leading engineering representative body. A survey by the Association of Consulting Engineers (ACE) shows that 94 per cent of engineering companies reported problems finding experienced staff.

First Acas chief exec


Acas has appointed John Taylor, currently at the Training and Enterprise Council of South-East Wales, as its first full-time chief executive. It is the first time the position at Acas has been separate from that of chairman. Taylor, who will join in March, said, “With the nature of the workplace changing so radically, this is an exciting time to join Acas.”

www.acas.org.uk



TUC information bid


The TUC is considering legal action under the Data Protection Act that will force companies to surrender information they hold about employees. Unions could use the act to make companies give them information about employees before they go to tribunal. Employees would then be able to challenge the information.

www.tuc.org.uk

Partnership assessed


Managers are paying only lip-service to the virtues of partnerships between employers and unions, according to a new report. An MSF-sponsored survey by Leeds University shows that despite 84 per cent of employers claiming partnerships were essential to industrial relations, nearly half of the unions questioned accused management of not sharing information or discussing plans.

www.msf.org.uk

Stress not reported


Ambulance drivers are not reporting symptoms of post-traumatic stress in case it damages their career prospects, a report has found. Sixty-four per cent of the drivers who had experienced a traumatic incident in the past six months claimed the risk to career prospects was always a deterrent to seeking help. The Royal College of Psychiatrists report also claims one in three ambulance staff has mental health problems.

www.rcpsych.ac.uk

Gossip can be hurtful


New research suggests that what can seem like harmless office gossip can be devastating for employees on the receiving end. A study by the British Psychological Society found that while gossip can be a way of letting off steam, if can sustain bullying and harassment campaigns and isolate and victimise people.

www.bps.org.uk

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