This week’s news in brief: computer giveaway

A home computing package worth more than £1,000 is up for grabs in a prize draw to encourage participation in the Personnel Today/PWA Software Survey. Five crates of champagne will be given to runners-up. The survey takes an annual look at HR opinions on software. Contact

Gripes go unheard

Nearly half the UK population now complains regularly about goods and services, but leading companies are failing to respond, a report by the Institute of Customer Service suggests. Many of the 3,000 employees surveyed from about 44 UK companies criticised their own organisations for the way they deal with complaints.

Pension investment

New pensions legislation will drive socially responsible investment to the top of the agenda in both the city and business, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. From this week, all UK private sector pension funds will be legally obliged to consider such investment as part of their overall investment policy.

Harassment advice

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has issued guidance on what employers must do to avoid liability for sexual harassment by one employee against another. The guidance states that having an equal opportunities policy in itself is not sufficient protection. Employers should also correctly implement a policy on sexual harassment.

Graduate shortfall

Two-thirds of UK employers are experiencing difficulties finding the right graduates, a survey says. This is despite the number of newly-qualified students outnumbering graduate scheme places by 20 to one. The survey by recruitment web site found 82 per cent of the 500 companies questioned said it took too long to fill vacancies.

Alternative therapy

The Employment Lawyers Association is setting up a working party on alternative dispute resolution. The working party will investigate the potential benefits of using mediation to resolve employment disputes. It will also consider which types of disputes are best suited to alternative dispute resolution.

Minimum pay for all

PizzaExpress is to pay all its staff, even those aged under 21, a minimum wage of £3.70 an hour. The company has announced a new package of better pay and perks which will immediately apply to all its employees. From this month PizzaExpress is dispensing with the gap between rates of pay for those under 22 and those over 22 years of age. All waiting staff will be paid the same increased rate of £3.70 an hour – a figure the Government will enforce in October.

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