International news: US staff communication surveillance on the up

• Nearly three-quarters of major US firms (73.5 per cent) record and review
employee communications and activities on the job, including their phone calls,
e-mail, Internet connections, and computer files, according to research by the
American Management Association. The figure has doubled since 1997, when AMA
inaugurated its annual survey, and has increased significantly over the past
year. Additional forms of monitoring and surveillance, such as reviewing phone
logs or video taping for security purposes, bring the overall figure on
electronic oversight to 78 per cent, up from the previous year’s 67 per cent.
On average, 88 per cent of companies engaged in any such practices inform their
employees of their policies.

Cabbies face highest death risk in the States

• US cab drivers are far more likely to be murdered on the job than any
other worker according to an analysis of figures for the past decade by USA
Today. It has a higher death rate than those jobs considered highly dangerous,
such as police officers, security guards and till operatives. The review of
Department of Labor data shows that during the 1990s, the homicide rate for
cabbies averaged 30 for every 100,000 workers. USA Today claims the level is
more than four times the rate for police work, which had a rate of 6.8 per
100,000. The national average was 0.6. On average, 67 cabbies are killed a
year, or one every five days. Though they make up only 0.02 per cent of the
American workforce, taxi drivers account for 7 per cent of workplace homicides.
USA Today

Study shows decline in Dutch union interest

• Fewer members than before participate actively in Dutch trade union
activities, and those who do, find that their voices are not sufficiently
heard, according to a Gallup study. The largest group of members is formed from
those who fail to turn up at union meetings in the workplace, and who primarily
see their trade union as a "service shop". However, a large majority
supports trade unions as a necessary institution. The study indicates that
while 12 per cent of LO members surveyed were shop stewards, employee
representatives or held similar union posts in 1992, today this figure is 8 per
cent. In 1992, 44 per cent of members had attended a union meeting at the
workplace or in the trade union within the past 12 months; today this figure
has dropped to 36 per cent. The figures show a marked fall in union members’
interest in trade union activities.

Paper mills strike ends in three-year deal

• A paper sector strike which stopped all of Finland’s paper and pulp mills
for more than a week has ended in a three-year deal on pay and conditions. The
Federation of Forest Industries and the Paper Workers’ Union approved a
conciliation proposal drawn up by the national conciliator, Juhani Salonius.
After the new agreement was signed, the paper mills restarted operations. Local
agreements had been signed at a few paper mills during the strike, before the
nationwide collective agreement was concluded. The new collective agreement
lasts for three years, ending on 31 January 2003, and covers about 27,000
workers in the paper industry. The strike was the first in the union’s history.
The agreement covers wage increases, paid holiday, use of outside labour and

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