Ministers indulge in a spell of law-meddling

This week’s guru

Ministers indulge in a spell of law-meddling

OK, it isn’t as bad as getting children to clean chimneys, but Guru was
surprised to hear that child labour laws were changed to ensure the Harry
Potter film was filmed in the UK.

Apparently, there was a danger that Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
was going to be made in the US because the film’s young stars couldn’t work
long enough hours in the UK and it would have taken too long to film.

Kids of 10 to 13 years of age were allowed to work no more than seven and a
half hours per day from 9am to 5pm, and had to do three hours daily schooling.
That has been extended to nine and a half hours between 7am and 7pm, and the
actors don’t have to go to school every day.

It left the stars, including 12-year-old Daniel "Harry Potter"
Radcliffe, free to film the £80m blockbuster.

With four Harry Potter books written and three more in the pipeline, this
could result in film revenues of over £1bn.

Faced with figures like that, it is not surprising that ministers decided
Quidditch is a useful and educational pastime for young actors.

Beer ban could leave bitter taste

Again Guru is glad to see that MPs are not wasting their time examining the
findings of the Work and Parents Taskforce.

Last week, MPs were signing petitions over ice-cream, this week it is beer.

North Wales member Martyn Jones has tabled a Parliamentary motion urging his
colleagues to boycott Carlsberg-Tetley in the Commons’ bars.

Carlsberg has pulled out of a micro-brewery development in Wrexham after 18
months of negotiation. The firm closed a plant there in April.

But Martyn had better find an alternative – word on the street is that MPs
get through 210 barrels of the stuff a year.

Council’s boob costs it £7,000

Lewd behaviour in the workplace can even affect sleepy parish councils. Talk
of bottoms and breasts cost the council at Croxley Green, Herts, £7,000.

Derek Fineberg, 74-year-old clerk to the council, regularly turned the air
blue with his comments, an employment tribunal in Watford was told.

His assistant Lesley Sanders, 52, eventually walked out and was initially
granted leave of absence while her complaints were followed up, but last
December she was dismissed from her part-time post.

The tribunal upheld her claim for unfair dismissal and sexual

Wrong trousers call for fashion police

The French may have the shortest
working week in Europe, but they have to watch what they wear following a
recent ruling.

A French technician has lost a second appeal against being
sacked for wearing a pair of Bermuda shorts at work.

Electronics firm Sagem dismissed 29-year-old Cedric Monribot in
June after he persisted in wearing the offending item.

The Frenchman argued the firm had "violated a fundamental
freedom of an employee", but the court, which had also rejected his first
appeal against the dismissal when he claimed sexual discrimination, disagreed.

According to Sagem’s lawyer, the court supported its claim that
Cedric’s shorts could have had a "disruptive" impact on the office.

Guru is intrigued – they must have been one loud pair of

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