This week’s international news in brief

European work time average is 39 hours

• Working Time agreements across Europe have remained steady at an average
of just under 39 hours a week, the annual review by the European Industrial
Relations Observatory has found. There was very little variation, with 37-hour
average deals in Denmark and the Netherlands at the lowest and 40-hour
agreements in Greece, Sweden and Luxembourg at the highest. British pay
settlements were at 38.4 hours, but the UK has a much smaller proportion of the
working population covered by collective deals, which means the working week is
still far longer than the rest of the Continent, at around 44 hours.

Coca-Cola cuts race cases from waivers

• Coca-Cola will exclude race discrimination claims from waiver clauses
signed by redundant staff. The drinks giant, which is downsizing, is offering
departing staff generous pay-offs if they sign a clause not to sue the company.
But in the wake of criticism from black employees, it has made an exception for
race cases. Coca-Cola is currently facing a lawsuit citing discrimination in
pay and appraisals.

US business uproar over state RSI move

• President Clinton has proposed new regulations to counter repetitive
strain injury. The law would force employers to review workplace ergonomics.
Business has reacted angrily to the plan. A lobbying group accused the
Government of "asking businesses to spend billions, while failing to
ensure the prevention of these injuries".

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