This week’s news in brief: strike ballot at Ford

Staff at Ford’s Dagenham plant are to be balloted on strike action following a two-hour unofficial walkout last week. The move follows Ford’s announcement in May that it plans to end production at the plant. The company has said it intends to move production to the continent.

Sick building culprit

Swedish researchers have pinned the blame for so-called sick building syndrome on computers. Air conditioning systems and photocopiers have previously been singled out as possible culprits. But the researchers, whose study is published in Environmental Science and Technology, said more than half the VDUs tested produced significant levels of the chemical triphenyl phosphate, which has been linked to a range of complaints.

Yard halves workforce

Belfast shipyard Harland and Wolff is to make half its 1,200-strong workforce redundant. The ailing shipbuilder recently said redundancies would be inevitable due to restructuring of the business.

More join crime fight

The Probation Service is to see staff numbers boosted by a third over the next three years. At a Probation Service conference in Manchester, Home Office minister Paul Boateng said 4,500 staff, including 1,500 probation officers, would join the service as part of a Government plan to address rising crime rates.

New editor takes over

Noel O’Reilly is the new editor of Personnel Today. Noel is rejoining the magazine after two years as deputy editor of the weekly medical newspaper Doctor. He has a solid understanding of HR issues and previously spent eight years at Personnel Today in a range of roles including deputy editor and features editor. “I am very keen to get feedback and am looking forward to meeting as many readers as possible, particularly at the forthcoming CIPD conference at Harrogate,” he said.

  • Personnel Today is saddened to announce the death of recruitment sales executive Lorraine Shoetan, 24, following a short illness. Acting recruitment advertising manager Patricia Hubbard said Lorraine, who joined Personnel Today in June this year, quickly earned the respect and admiration of colleagues and clients. She paid tribute to Lorraine’s “consistent professionalism and unwavering good humour”.

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