…news in brief

This week’s news in brief

New equality laws

Equality Minister Barbara Roche has unveiled plans for sweeping changes to
the UK’s equality laws which will ban discrimination at work on grounds of
sexual orientation, religion or belief and age. Roche confirmed that a single
equalities body would replace the Equal Opportunities Commission, the
Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission.  www.dti.gov.uk

Damning report

The National Audit Office has slammed the Individual Learning Accounts (ILA)
Scheme, saying it was introduced too quickly and without proper security
measures. A damning report said vast amounts of taxpayers’ money were wasted on
the scheme because a lack of safeguards or quality controls left it wide open
to abuse by fraudsters. The £273m scheme was wound up in November 2001.  www.noa.gov.uk

Workers get wary

Trust in UK bosses has plummeted in the past 12 months, according to
research by recruitment group Reed. Reed surveyed more than 2,600 workers and
nearly 200 HR professionals for its report Motivating People at Work: What is
to be Done. It finds 45 per cent of workers said their trust in bosses has
fallen over the past year.  www.reed.co.uk

Minimum wage call

Shopkeepers union Usdaw has told the Low Pay Commission that the National
Minimum Wage (NMW) should be increased and paid to all staff over 18. Deputy
general secretary John Hannett said the NMW should be set at a level between
£4.84 and £5.38. He also recommended that 16 and 17-year-old staff receive a
fixed percentage of the adult wage.  www.usdaw.org.uk

Dissatisfaction increases

Older workers and women are becoming more critical of their workplaces, new
research finds. The Working in Britain Survey – part of the Future of Work
Programme funded by the Economic and Social Research Council – shows that
satisfaction has fallen. In 1992, 61 per cent of older workers were
‘completely’ or ‘fairly’ satisfied with work. This has fallen to 48.6 per cent.

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