This week’s news in brief: travel-to-work stress

Many employees find commuting to work more traumatic than work itself, a survey has found. Of the commuters questioned for the International Stress Management Association survey, 41 per cent worry most about travel to work. Only 32 per cent worry most about their children’s futures and 31 per cent said work is their biggest source of stress.

EOC backs appeal

The Equal Opportunities Commission has announced its support for the case of Jane Coker and Martha Osamor at the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The women claim that the way in which the Lord Chancellor appointed his special adviser discriminated against them. They are appealing against the decision of a tribunal last year, which stated they were not qualified for the position.

Maternity pay-back

The Engineering Employers’ Federation (EEF) has urged the Government not to increase statutory maternity pay without fully compensating employers. The federation says businesses should be compensated for both the payments they would have to make if the policy was introduced and the administrative costs of extra payments. The comments come in response to the DTI discussion document Work and Parents – Competitiveness and Choice.

Bank sheds staff

The Alliance and Leicester is to shed nearly one-fifth of its jobs over the next three years by getting customers to use the Web for their banking. Most of the staff cuts will be achieved through natural wastage, redeployment and retraining. The company will axe up to 1,500 jobs out of a total of 8,000 in an effort to cut costs by £100m by the end of 2003. No branch closures are expected.

Views on age bias

The Commons employment sub-committee will be conducting an inquiry into age discrimination in employment next year and is inviting interested parties to express their views before 19 January next year. The inquiry will address questions on subjects ranging from anti-discrimination legislation to government policies such as New Deal. Opinions can be e-mailed to

Effects of ethics

The Industrial Society has launched a social reporting service in recognition of the growing importance of business ethics and corporate values. The scheme allows organisations to evaluate their performance against their vision, values and goals. A spokesperson said it is becoming increasingly clear that socially responsible organisations are better placed to recruit and retain staff.

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