This week’s news in brief

Equal pay deal U-turn
Aberdeen City Council has avoided industrial action by doing a U-turn and conceding to union demands over the introduction of an equal pay agreement which proposed salary cuts of up to £16,000. The authority is the second to crumble in the face of industrial action over attempts to implement an equal pay strategy. Moray Council capitulated in July after industrial action.

RBS’s £5.5bn pay bill
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group spent £5.5bn on employee remuneration in 2004, including National Insurance and £1bn of pension contributions. Its 2004 Corporate Responsibility Report also reveals that the group’s 141,000 employees exchanged more than £60m of salary for flexible benefits. A fifth of the group’s workforce also chose to work part-time.

Boots appoints DIY man
High-street health and beauty retailer Boots has appointed Mike Cutt as director of HR. He will join on 3 October from DIY retailer B&Q, where he was HR director for five years. Cutt, 47, has featured regularly in Personnel Today’s Top 40 Power Players, an annual barometer of the HR profession’s most influential people.

Unions unite over ferries
Trade unions across Europe have launched a campaign to demand an end to “appallingly low pay, unacceptable working conditions and denial of basic trade-union rights” on ferries operating in Europe. The maritime unions from the UK, Ireland, France, The Netherlands and Belgium are pushing for the UN conventions on human rights to be imposed on ferry operators.

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