International news

This week’s international news

Global database on working practices set up

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is developing a comparative
database of member country policies and practices regarding wages, working
time, work organisation, accommodating life outside work and workplace
conditions. The Conditions of Work and Employment Programme (TRAVAIL) is
creating analytical tools and technical advice to help improve standards in
each of these areas. Experts are integrating assessments of these labour topics.
An ILO note said: "Ultimately, the programme should help [governments] in
elaborating economic and social policies." Reports, assessments, links to
national studies and other information are already being published online as
ILO compiles project material. Other issues being examined are maternity
protection; harassment, stress and violence; work and family; working time; and
special terms and conditions of employment.

Presidential hopeful pledges to create jobs

US presidential candidate John Kerry has promised to create 10 million new
jobs if elected. He also said he would to close tax loopholes that encourage US
companies to move jobs abroad. "My pledge and my plan is for 10 million new
jobs in the next four years," he said in a speech at Wayne State
University in Detroit. "I won’t tell you that we can bring back every lost
industry or every job. But my plan will enable our economy to create jobs and
keep more good jobs here in America. As president, I’ll hold countries like
China accountable when they manipulate their currency to inflate their exports
and depress ours. A Bush campaign spokesman decried Kerry’s proposals as an
"isolationist" and "simplistic".

Cut in minimum wage proposed in Finland

Lowering the minimum wage would cut the number of long-term unemployed,
according to the head of the Finnish Government’s taskforce on employment.
Harri Skog told newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that he believed the long-term
jobless should initially receive lower wages than currently allowed by labour
laws when they finally found work. Skog said the move would encourage employers
to take on new staff, and that without such a radical step, it would be
impossible to create enough new jobs. Finland has about 175,000 long-term
jobless. Most of them are of prime working age, and many are highly educated.
Unions have rejected Skog’s calls.

Kuwait ends 13-year ban on Iraqi workers

Kuwait has lifted a 13-year ban on the recruitment of Iraqi manpower. Faisal
Al Hajji, minister of social affairs and labour, told the Al Watan daily:
"Iraqis are treated like workers of other nationalities. Their recruitment
is allowed based on rules regulating the labour market." Kuwait slapped a
total ban on the import of Iraqi manpower when then Iraqi president Saddam
Hussein ordered his army to invade and occupy the emirate in August 1990. The
government has also reversed the need for employers to gain security approval
before they recruit Iraqi workers. Currently there are around 20,000 Iraqis in
Kuwait – down from around 100,000 before 1990.

US HR society targets jobs market with .jobs

The American HR management society has applied for the domain name ‘.jobs’
to make the online recruitment process easier for employers and employees. The
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) hopes that by having .jobs, it
will streamline the process of advertising jobs and receiving CVs, making the
recruitment process more efficient for employers and employees. SHRM is optimistic
that the domain name will be granted, but will not find until at least May.

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