International round up

This week’s international round up

Work health survey ‘should ring alarm bells’

Working conditions across Europe are deteriorating, causing an increase in work-related health problems and declining productivity, a survey has found. The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions survey suggests that the percentage of workers suffering due to intense noise and painful working positions has increased over the past decade and the pace of work has risen dramatically, causing large numbers of employees to complain of stress. Foundation director Raymond-Pierre Bodin said, “The survey should ring alarm bells in the European workplace.”

Employers face labour shortage after hours cut

Employers in France are facing severe skills shortages following the introduction of the 35-hour week, last week. Companies employing more than 20 staff will be forced to cut weekly working hours from 39 to 35, which could cause labour shortages as employers struggle to fill the hours shortfall. Recent research by the French government suggested that half of the country’s employers were already having difficulty in attracting suitable employees. There are also concerns about the impact on wages, as competition for staff pushes salaries up.

ILO fights discrimination against migrant workers

The International Labour Office is launching training programmes to combat discrimination against the world’s 100 million migrant workers. The schemes will develop best practice on anti-discrimination and pro-integration policies, as well as assisting governments in establishing effective labour-migration management. According to the ILO, migrant workers make a substantial contribution to the global economy, but are often consigned to low-paid and dangerous jobs.

Fight over Euro consultation law set to fail?

Britain’s attempts to block European legislation that would force companies to consult employees over prospective restructuring and job losses could fail. So far, Britain has vetoed the directive, but a forecast loss of support from Germany and Denmark could mean the proposal becomes law within the next 18 months. Peter Reid, CIPD consultant on European issues, believes an attempt to push the legislation through will be made after the UK’s general election.

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