Low unemployment rate seen as sign of growth

France’s unemployment figures are
the lowest they have been for 10 years. The labour ministry said the
unemployment rate dropped to nine per cent in January, 0.2 per cent down on
December 2000. The number of job seekers in France has reduced by 46,000 to
2.36 million. The data is seen by analysts as proof of robust growth in the
eurozone’s second biggest economy. Figures show that that just over 10 per cent
of companies in the eurozone use the euro as currency.

Unions strike over
Uruguayan privatisation plans

Trade unions have underlined their
strength in Uruguay by gathering 48,000 votes in a petition against a
part-privatisation of some state enterprises. The petition is part of a
campaign for a referendum on the move, which would come 10 years after a
similar poll ruled out privatisation of the state-run telecoms network. The
government wants to increase managerial freedom to develop services and raise
capital, but unions fear weaker job security. 

Politics pushes HR
aside in job cuts row

The role of HR managers in South
Korea is being sidelined as trade unions and the president fight a political
battle. Personnel Today’s sister publication, Global HR, reports that banking
unions accused the government of reneging on an agreement it had made to ensure
that the workforce was consulted over job cuts. Since the agreement was made
Kim Dae Jung has sided with the banks in a dispute over compulsory redundancies
resulting from the merger of retail banks the Kookmin and the Housing and
Commercial Bank. http://www.asiaweek.com/

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