…in brief

This week’s news in brief

In court over opt-out

The European Commission (EC) is to take the British Government to the
European Court of Justice over alleged breaches of the Working Time Directive.
The case comes after trade union Amicus complained to the EC, claiming the UK
is letting businesses exploit an opt-out which allows staff to work over the
48-hour a week maximum.  www.amicustheunion.org

Tribunals on the rise

A survey by manufacturing and engineering organisation EEF has shown the
number of employment tribunal cases in the sector has increased by 50 per cent
since 1998 – backing employers’ claims of a rising tide of litigation. The EEF
has warned that new dispute resolution procedures, due to be introduced in
October, will do little to ease the problem.  www.eef.org.uk

Call to abolish NI

The Institute of Directors and the British Chambers of Commerce, have both
called for National Insurance (NI) to be amalgamated into the Pay As You Earn
(PAYE) tax system. Both organisations said that NI has moved away from its
original purpose as a contributory welfare fund and claim it is merely another
tax.  www.iod.com

Minimum wage rise

Chancellor Gordon Brown, looks set to raise the national minimum wage (NMW)
in this week’s Budget. The Financial Times reports that the Low Pay Commission
has confirmed the economy presents no bar to raising the NMW by 35p to £4.85
per hour. The rise – which would come into effect in October – will amount to
almost 8 per cent, making it the second year running that Brown has raised the
NMW by well above the average for UK workers.  www.lowpay.gov.uk

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