News in brief

This week’s news in brief

FE business boost

Businesses are to help decide what courses further education colleges should
offer, in a £43m initiative to ‘put learners’ and employers’ needs first’, the
Government has announced. Estelle Morris, education secretary, said learning
and skills councils would review regions and if areas lacked the institutions
needed, new ones would be set up.

Pay rises speed up

Salary increases are expected to accelerate in 2002-03 despite concerns
about the future economic climate, according to the 2002 Salary Budget Survey
by Watson Wyatt. The survey shows that companies are budgeting for an average 4
per cent salary increase for the coming fiscal year.

Pay checks urged

The Equal Opportunities Commission advised employers to check their pay
systems are fair after a female cleaner won a case for sex discrimination and
victimisation when she found she was earning 60p per hour less than a male
colleague. Hannant Cleaning Services was ordered to pay £2,540 compensation.

Building site cheats

The leader of building workers’ union Ucatt is calling on the Government to
raid building sites to catch dole cheats, the bogus self-employed and the
sub-contracting companies that enable these practices to take place. George
Brumwell’s call follows a Benefits Agency blitz last month on the Scottish
Parliament building site, which discovered that one in eight workers was a
benefit cheat.

EU harmony criticised

British and Italian employers are hoping a new alliance between the CBI and
Italian group Confindustria will prevent further EU employment laws. In a joint
statement on labour market policy, timed to influence the latest EU summit in
Seville, the groups criticise the EU for attempting to develop Europe-wide laws
in areas where it is difficult to harmonise national approaches.

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