In Brief

Pay deals down

New figures on pay deals suggest the Chancellor’s call for pay restraint in
October last year has been heeded by employers. Figures covering 1999 and early
2000 from Incomes Data Services show a downward drift with most pay rises
awarded so far this year in the 2 to 3.5 per cent range. The first cluster of
January 2000 deals range from 1.4 per cent to 5 per cent. Just over two-thirds
are between 2 and 3.5 per cent. The findings were not enough to stop a
quarter-point rise in interest rates last Thursday to 5.75 per cent.

Forces gay ban lifted

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that gays will no longer be barred
from the armed forces. The decision was inevitable after the European Court of
Human Rights ruled last year that the ban was in breach of the right to privacy.
The human rights convention will be applicable in UK employment tribunals from

Safety staff increase

Recruitment of health, safety and environmental staff has almost doubled in
the past year, according to a new survey. Half the 350 companies surveyed also
said they found it difficult to recruit people of the right calibre. The survey
was carried out by recruitment consultancy Sypol Liberty Risk Services.

More hit by directive

The Government has underestimated the number of employers to be affected by
the European Works Council Directive, it was claimed this week. Oliver Brettle,
of international law firm Ashurst Morris Crisp, said the number of UK firms
affected would be "significantly higher" than the 110 estimated by
the Department of Trade and Industry. The law, which came into effect in the UK
on 15 January, requires international firms with over 1,000 staff to have
forums where employees request one.

Learn to fight drugs

A new distance learning course has been launched aimed at reducing the
impact of drug misuse at work. The problem is estimated to cost employers about
£800m each year. The certificate in drug misuse and abuse is being run by
Ethos, specialist in distance learning training.

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