This week’s news in brief
The Government has fudged making a decision on whether to allow members of final-salary pension schemes to hold a stakeholder pension as well. In a statement released last week, the DSS said it would not allow parallel membership of a stakeholder and a final-salary scheme for high earners and called on the industry to argue how low and moderate earners might be allowed to be members of both. Experts have warned that if parallel membership is not allowed that final-salary schemes will be put under threat. Consultancy William Mercer described the move as "disappointing".
Pay gap remains
The pay gap between high and low-paid workers is still not being eroded, according to a study by the Manchester Low Pay Unit. But the report found that the lowest paid occupation, kitchen porters, received the highest increase in earnings between 1998 and 1999.
Work stress guide
The British Library has published a guide to help managers recognise the dangers of workplace stress. The book, Employment and Health: psychosocial stress in the workplace, covers issues such as defining stress, the impact on the workplace, personality traits and responses to stress and stress management.
Health staff pay deal
Unison's 180,000 healthcare members not covered by pay review bodies have voted by a majority of 60 per cent to 40 per cent to accept a three-year pay deal. Admin, ambulance, ancillary, clerical, craft, laboratory, maintenance, professional and scientific employees will receive £250 or 3 per cent, whichever is greater, backdated to 1 April 1999. The increase from 1 April 2000 will be £300 or 3.25 per cent, and from April 2001 to 31 March 2002 the increase will be at least the rate of inflation plus 0.5 per cent.