EC consultation law for smaller firms more likely

first_imgOppositionto a European right to consultation for all staff in medium and largercompanies has weakened and a law looks likely this year, sources in Brusselshave indicated.”Thereis general political agreement [among members of the social affairs council]for the principle of an employee consultation law,” said Peter Reid, anindependent consultant on European works councils. “Germany has backedoff. There is now no longer a blocking minority.”Thereports follow the extraordinary meeting of the Employment and Social PolicyCouncil in December where French labour minister Elisabeth Guigou said that thenecessary majority for the proposal would be achieved during the SwedishPresidency, running from January to June.Germanyand the UK have blocked the directive, drafted by the European Commission in1998, which would introduce compulsory consultation in firms with more than 50staff.Butthe CBI said reports of the end to the blocking minority are often stirred upby those in favour of the directive. “Those who have a vested interest inseeing the blocking minority disappear have attempted many times to suggestthat it is about to happen,” said Susan Anderson, head of HR policy at theCBI. “Certainly the French were very eager for the directive to get through.”TheGovernment and the CBI have argued that the proposed law breaches the EUprinciple of subsidiarity, which says that matters should be dealt with at thelowest level. Atnational level the DTI is pushing for a stronger UK law on consultation over redundancies.AllBritish trade unions support the European Directive. Richard Fulham, Europeanofficer for the AEEU, said “Good companies inform and consult on importantbusiness matters. Those businesses will have very little to fear.” Previous Article Next Article EC consultation law for smaller firms more likelyOn 30 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Asbestos road show raises risk awareness

first_imgAsbestos road show raises risk awarenessOn 1 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today A road show is touring the country raising awareness among employers of newguidelines designed to improve the management of risk from asbestos. The HSE road show, launched in September, will travel up and down thecountry until the end of this month. New rules are being brought in next year that will require owners andoccupiers to determine the presence of asbestos in their buildings and assessand control the risk. – One in seven people in the West may have been damaged by exposure toasbestos, according to research presented at the annual congress of theEuropean Respiratory Society in September. Researchers re-examined 160autopsies and found “pleural plaques”, a thickening of a lungmembrane suggestive of damage, in 14 per cent of the women, and in 20 per centof the men. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Unemployment falls in the Philippines

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. Unemployment falls in the PhilippinesOn 1 Nov 2001 in Personnel Today Unemployment rates in the Philippines have fallen in recent months, despitea shaky economy and the global economic slowdown. The unemployment rate droppedto 10.7% in the year to July, compared with a figure of 11.2% for the previous12-month period. During the year, the Philippines’ workforce grew by 6.7%,meaning that some 300,000 people entered the labour pool looking for work.Employment increased in all of the Philippines’ three major economic sectors –industry, services and agriculture. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img read more

Pizza Express serves up shares

first_imgPizza Express serves up sharesOn 7 May 2002 in Personnel Today Pizza Express is launching an employee share scheme to encourage loyalty andpromote the development of a career path within the firm. The scheme will allow staff to contribute part of their pre-tax salary tocompany shares, which Pizza Express will match over a period of three or fiveyears. Nick Taylor, HR director at the restaurant chain, said the scheme wouldstrengthen its benefits package that already includes sabbaticals, flexibleworking, paternity leave and additional maternity leave. “It will mean asignificant financial hit for the company because we’ve got to buy up all theshares. But it’s a good incentive for staff and fulfils our criteria because itencourages them to stay with us,” he said. Pizza Express, which aims to open 40 new outlets this year, is offering thescheme to all 7,000 staff around the country. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Learning for life: Ear care

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Learning for life: Ear careOn 1 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Life Long Learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are theprocesses by which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve theirpractice. There are many ways to address CPD: formally, through attending courses,study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection.Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up-to-datewith what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting and identifyingwhat you have learnt is not always easy. These questions are designed to help you to identify what you have learntfrom studying the article. They will also help you to clarify what you canapply to practice, what you did not understand and what you need to explorefurther. 1. The majority of litigation costs related to ear syringing are theresult of: a) Infection b) Perforated ear drum c) Poor technique d) Lack of care 2. Which of the following is NOT a benefit in preventing or treating earproblems? a) Patient satisfaction b) Better communication c) Reduction in sickness absence d) Budget restrictions 3. In which direction should the meatus be pulled to obtain optimum viewof the tympanic membrane? a) Postero-superiorly b) Postero-laterally c) Frontal-superiorly d) Frontal – laterally 4. The proper name for ear wax is…a) Ceramide b) Cerumen c) Cetrimide d)Cerebellum 5. The bones of the middle ear are called…a) Hammer and sickle b) Metatarsals c) Malleus, incus and stapes d) Concha, tragus and pinna 6. Which of the following is NOT a cause of hearing loss? a) Trauma b) Noise c) Wax d) Iritis 7. What causes itchiness when wearing ear defenders a) Extreme cold b) Excessive perspiration c) Ill fitting protective equipment d) Allergy 8. A perforated ear drum is caused by… a) Trauma, barotraumas or infection b) Wrong-sized ear plugs, barotraumas or infection c) Trauma, wrong-sized ear plugs or infection d) Trauma, barotraumas or wrong-sized ear plugs 9. Wax impaction does NOT cause…a) Pain b) Tinnitus c) Sinusitis d) Vertigo 10. People who are NOT more susceptible to wax problems are those with…a) Excess hairs b) Narrow meatus c) Hearing aids d) Glasses Feedback1) c – Hopefully ear syringing is not a practice carried out inoccupational health – but if it is, what training did you receive and how doyou know whether you are up-to-date? 2) d – If noise is a hazard in your place of work, then ear care shouldbe budgeted for as an important part of a Hearing Conservation Programme. 3) a – The others are made up! Make sure you know the correct way toexamine ears. Discuss this practice with your colleagues and ensure that youare competent and safe. Read the section on guidance for examining the earagain, as this should be carried out before the hearing test as part of theHearing Conservation Programme. 4) b 5) c – Revise your knowledge of the anatomy of the ear and thephysiology of hearing. 6) d – Iritis is a serious eye problem. 7) b – And this may be due to poor quality or unsuitable ear defenders. 8) a – They should be referred to the GP for proper treatment. 9) c 10) d last_img read more

What gets measured gets done – let’s do it

first_imgWhat gets measured gets done – let’s do itOn 18 Feb 2003 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Allthe recent noise about workforce productivity has been quite fascinating. Youguys fly in US strategy guru Michael Porter to tell you what your problem is,stirring up the academics, and then Personnel Today calls for action in itsWhite Paper (11 February). Itis, of course, good fun to read the back and forth on why the US is moreproductive than the UK, or which country leads in productivity improvement, butlet me lob in two thoughts from the sidelines. First,on the global side, are we certain that our measurements and definitions of‘productivity’ are not overly Western-centric? Is our definition ofproductivity wholly relevant in the various parts of the planet where we plyour respective trades? Whenwe look at productivity measurements, do we stop and think about ourmeasurements in terms of local cultures? Productivity studies no doubt amazeand amuse workers in countries where afternoon naps are common; in cultureswhere the lunch hour is happily spent head down, asleep at your desk; or inplaces that revel in a 35-hour working week. How then, given these issues, canwe truly measure and compare productivity across borders, and are thecomparisons appropriate, much less accurate?Theadvent of international air travel changed many things – it certainly gave usall the ability to impose our own views and work ethics on far greater swathesof humanity than before. But we have to ask ourselves, is that the right thingto do?Measuringproductivity is important, and striving for continual improvement is crucial, butneither of these can be absent of context.Second,since we are frequently the ones doing the measuring, what are we doing in HRto measure HR’s productivity (the old adage involving stones and glass housesmay well apply)?ForHR to be convincing, we have to get our own house in order first. What have wedone to demonstrate our productivity? The ability to measure HR, and to measurethe impact it has on a business becomes even more important as productivity isexamined across the company – and across the world.Alltoo frequently I still hear HR professionals whining about not being able tomeasure the ‘soft side’ of HR and I still have conversations with people whothink HR can’t be effectively be measured or show the value of it. We’ve got tostop this thinking, and start insisting that HR be accountable for results –just like every other part of the organisation.Financereports numbers; sales and marketing report numbers. Operations can reportnumbers, and certainly legal teams can attach metrics to their activities. Why,then, is it so rare for HR functions to report back out what they achieve?HRprofessionals must be on the front lines of creating and reporting metrics thatdefine and prove the value we bring to our companies.Whatgets measured, gets done. What gets done, gets valued. Whither HR?ByLance Richards, Board director, SHRM Global Forumlast_img read more

HSE to improve poor health record in construction sector

first_img Previous Article Next Article HSE to improve poor health record in construction sectorOn 1 May 2003 in Personnel Today OHwill play a major part in cutting building’s £760m bill for ill healthConstructionfirms are to get free advice on OH issues, on-site risk assessments and adviceon specialist services under a pilot scheme being co-ordinated by the Healthand Safety Executive (HSE).Thehealth and safety record of the industry has been an ongoing concern of the HSEand, with the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC), it has agreedto set up an independent ‘action forum’ to raise up to £1.3m for a trial OH supportscheme.Oncethe forum is established and funding secured, the pilot will be run initiallyin a designated part of the country, with a remit to work to better manageworkers’ exposure to key health risks in the industry. If successful, it willbe expanded to become a national operation, aiming to reduce the industry’sestimated £760m bill of work-related ill health.KevinMyers, chairman of CONIAC and the HSE’s chief inspector of construction, saidthe aim of the scheme was to “improve, preserve and protect the health of theindustry’s employees”.AndySneddon, health and safety director of the Construction Confederation addedthat it represented a “real opportunity” to make a step change towardseffective management of health issues within the sector. GeorgeBrumwell, general secretary of industry trade union UCATT, said: “The cases ofill health in our industry show why it is important this pilot is successfuland a permanent scheme is set up.”TheHSE has been carrying out ‘blitzes’ on construction firms up and down thecountry and is particularly worried about the number of deaths and seriousinjuries within the Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed. last_img read more

Do employees benefit from employee benefits?

first_img Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Do employees benefit from employee benefits?Shared from missc on 17 Jun 2015 in Personnel Today Comments are closed.center_img Read full article Staff benefits schemes seem to be a hot topic at the moment so I thought I’d chime in with my thoughts….In years gone by the company car, paid phone bill’s or company credit card were pretty much the in domain of the professionals at the top of their game working in the most generous of companies. Now though, almost akin to my blog post on gimmicky long interview processes, companies seem to be using the benefits they offer as a marketing tool, and the list of what is being offered is getting longer and longer. There’ nothing wrong with that, but let’s dissect it a little.In recent times there has been a lot of debate over what is considered a generous benefits programme and what is going too far. For example, I refer to Facebook and Apple who opted for a very polarizing benefit of freezing any female employee’s eggs (most suggest in a bid to allow feeling more at ease delaying having children). Or Google California, as another example who trucked in snow to create a snowy wonderland for its staff. Times are of course changing and our wants and needs are evolving with the times. I totally get that we are not programmed in the same way that we were 50 years ago where social norms almost pre-defined at what ages children would enter our lives, or when we should be allowed to enjoy a brisk walk in the snow, but is this taking a “company benefit” too far?In a few less extreme examples such-as, orgs employing chefs to cook meals each day for staff, full gym in-house or even sleep pods. These all sound amazing, right? And who wouldn’t want a part of that, but something that is also worth thinking about is – Are we then blurring the lines further between our professional worlds and our personal worlds? And indeed, is this a good or bad thing? We have already seen a huge shift towards technology interoperability and never being too far away from a piece of tech that could see us struggle to “switch off” in our personal time, but we are now looking at a new age where the comforts of home-life are being brought to the office.This is not to say I wouldn’t dive straight into a sleep-pod given the chance – just food for thought and I’d be keen to hear other perspective on where boundaries should be in the creation of a solid benefits scheme…last_img read more

Where mayoral candidates stand on real estate

first_img Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Eric AdamsMandatory Inclusionary Housingmayoral racePoliticsRezoningscott stringer Tags From left: Scott Stringer, Shaun Donovan, Maya Wiley, Andrew Yang, Kathryn Garcia and Eric AdamsAs more candidates join the New York City mayoral race, they threaten to hit a critical threshold: how many fit on a Zoom screen.With just four months until the Democratic primary that is sure to determine the winner, candidates have been facing off in adjacent squares like an extended Brady family. More than 40 are running, and given New York’s progressive electorate, their overlap on positions is considerable — notably in their distancing themselves from the unpopular Mayor Bill de Blasio.But on real estate issues, differences emerge. Contenders including Comptroller Scott Stringer have derided developers’ tax breaks and refused their money, while others have condemned demonization of the industry.ADVERTISEMENT“The real estate community is part of New York,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “We’re going to need them just like we needed them in the 1970s. Just like we needed them after 9/11. Just like we needed them after the financial crisis of 2008.”Many have lambasted de Blasio’s affordable housing program, taken up the debate over land use and picked up on calls to shift city-backed apartment projects to nonprofits.The remote nature of this mayoral race isn’t the only thing that sets it apart. The next mayor will inherit a city devastated by the pandemic. Facing budget deficits in the billions of dollars, city officials could ask the state to raise taxes on the industry and its top customers.“The city’s budget problems either go through Albany, or they go through a very painful reckoning on spending and property taxes,” said Evan Stavisky, a partner at the Parkside Group, a political consulting firm. “There are real challenges there.”Allies and enemiesAmong the top eight candidates, several could be seen as allies by real estate.Adams, a former New York City police captain, is one. Ray McGuire, a former vice chairman at Citigroup, speaks the industry’s language, boasting more than 30 years of business experience. And Shaun Donovan was the top housing official for real estate-friendly Mayor Michael Bloomberg before serving as President Barack Obama’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development.Though Stringer and former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia have criticized tax breaks beloved by developers, they are considered moderates. Real Estate Board of New York president James Whelan recently brushed off Stringer’s anti-developer rhetoric, saying the longtime establishment figure was just in “campaign mode.”Further to the left are attorney and civil rights activist Maya Wiley, former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, Brooklyn Council member Carlos Menchaca and nonprofit executive Dianne Morales.    Developers Stephen Ross and Jack Cayre have poured money into a campaign fund focused on keeping antagonists of the industry out of the City Council. But in the mayoral contest, real estate executives have donated liberally to Adams, Donovan, McGuire and Stringer, before the comptroller began turning down their checks a year ago. The donation strategy is designed to curry favor with whoever wins.“In the mayoral race, the calculus is different,” said Neal Kwatra, CEO of political consulting firm Metropolitan Public Strategies. “If you lose, you risk alienating the person who does end up emerging.”Beating up on MIH Many mayoral hopefuls have deemed de Blasio’s Mandatory Inclusionary Housing a failure, albeit well-intentioned. The program requires developers to set aside a percentage of apartments as permanently affordable if a project benefits from rezoning.Only six of the 15 neighborhood rezonings de Blasio planned have been approved. But the candidates’ main criticism has been that the “affordable” units’ rents are too high and that the rezonings have only been in communities of color.“Our housing plan has been upside down,” Adams said. “We basically went into poor areas, encouraged development, displaced those long-term tenants.”That critique has been common among candidates, despite city planners’ insistence that rezonings slow displacement by providing housing for new arrivals.Most of the candidates, however, support the mayor’s belated push to rezone high-income Soho. Adams said other areas of Manhattan are ripe for rezoning as well.Stringer was the first to lay out in detail how he would replace MIH. His “universal affordable housing” program would mandate that all new residential construction with 10 or more units set aside at least 25 percent of apartments as affordable with rents at an average of 60 percent of the area median income.He would focus rezonings on “high-opportunity neighborhoods [with] the ability to add density without displacing existing affordable housing.” “The failure of MIH is to assume only a few low-income neighborhoods should bear the brunt of providing affordable housing,” Stringer said in a statement.Alicia Glen, who oversaw the program as deputy mayor, noted that it is “popular” for candidates to criticize the outgoing mayor.“I think some candidates clearly don’t understand the mechanism and the legality of how you structure MIH,” said Glen, who now runs her own development firm, MSquared. “The bottom line is, the policy that we put together works.”Of Stringer’s heavy mandates, she said, “That would be illegal, and he knows better.”Garcia has said she would create 50,000 affordable units for households making less than 30 percent of the area median income — 20,000 more than de Blasio has. Donovan would not mandate inclusionary housing citywide, like Stringer, but would use “robust incentives”  to encourage mixed-income projects with “deep affordability.”But he doesn’t think that should be a singular pursuit. “One of the problems under this administration is that inclusionary zoning has become too much of a focus of our affordable housing policy,” Donovan said. “And it is not a silver bullet.”Zone defenseIn addition to rezoning higher-income neighborhoods, candidates have called for an overhaul of the seven-month land-use review process. The City Council is also considering requiring a racial impact study for major rezonings.Late last year, Council Speaker Corey Johnson proposed a 10-year, citywide planning framework. It would set long-term goals for housing, transportation, public space and other needs and make Council approval of rezonings optional. Persuading members to give up that power would be difficult, especially with Johnson opting out of the mayoral race last year.One Council member who is running, Menchaca, supports Johnson’s plan, though he thinks it could go further. He said the trajectory of Industry City’s rezoning application, which was withdrawn last year because of his opposition, underscores the importance of community engagement in advance.After numerous meetings with community members and fruitless talks with Menchaca, the campus’s owners went ahead with their application but could not come to terms with the Council member, who faced intense pressure from local activists.De Blasio remained on the sidelines, calling it a City Council matter. He was chastised by business groups for not helping a proposal that promised thousands of jobs and $1 billion in investment and by Menchaca for not sweetening the deal with community benefits.Menchaca said mayors need to be more involved to ensure rezonings’ benefits don’t primarily go to developers.“They essentially get what they want, and we get essentially bite sizes of what the public needs,” Menchaca said. “We’re [granting] massive amounts of zoning rights for a fraction of what we could be getting in terms of affordability.”He added that rezonings slated for completion before the end of de Blasio’s term, including of Soho and Gowanus, should be halted until the process is changed.Several candidates have pointed to the need for deeper community involvement in the process, though no one has pitched a wholesale replacement. Adams called for a balance between community involvement and the city’s ability to grow.“If you have too many cooks in the kitchen, we’re going to spoil the broth,” Adams said. “The reality is that some residents don’t want any type of development at all.”Private vs. publicMayoral contenders have tapped into several discussions about curbing for-profit development.Several have promoted eliminating or reforming the tax break Affordable New York, the successor to 421a — a decision that rests with the state but which mayors can influence. Developers have long argued that without the decades-long property tax break, which resembles MIH but demands less affordability, little housing would be built in New York City.The push for eliminating the benefit dovetails with calls to tax the state’s highest earners and impose a pied-à-terre tax. Not all the candidates are on board.“We cannot tax our way out of this. We must grow our way out of this,” McGuire recently told TRD, while allowing that wealthy New Yorkers like himself should pay more to help the city recover.Donovan said eliminating Affordable New York would be “foolish” at a time when the city desperately needs more housing.Candidates have also weighed in on private developers working with the New York City Housing Authority.One target is the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, under which NYCHA properties are renovated and managed by private management companies and rents are subsidized by Section 8. RAD is aimed at chipping away at the authority’s $32 billion, five-year repair backlog and improving management of its developments.Though the renovations have been well received by tenants and NYCHA maintains ownership and rents remain limited to 30 percent of tenants’ income, opponents call RAD “privatization” and say it gives tenants no say in what happens to their homes.“They’re not given that transparency, they’re not given that voice, and therefore they don’t have the options to say what it is they want,” Wiley, a former counsel to de Blasio, said during a December mayoral forum held by the West Side Tenants’ Conference. “The principles have to be about keeping public housing public.”Yang has criticized a de Blasio administration plan to allow developers to build mixed-income projects on NYCHA land, which might generate $1 billion for repairs.The proposal has been stymied by elected officials and tenants who object to any private housing on authority property and to the loss or displacement of playgrounds and open space. Yang said he would prohibit “luxury” development at NYCHA and require any other projects there to get City Council approval.Another controversial proposal would shift affordable housing development to nonprofits. A bill from City Council member Brad Lander would give nonprofits first crack at such projects on city land. A separate measure would allow nonprofits or community land trusts the first chance to purchase residential buildings with three or more apartments when they are up for sale.Donovan said that while he supports doing more for nonprofits, the proposals don’t ensure they have the resources to “become forces in their neighborhoods.”“We have to recognize that while so many [critics] demonized private owners of housing,” he said, “there’s a huge amount of affordable housing owned by small, immigrant owners who are desperately trying to do the right thing.”   Share via Shortlinklast_img read more

Image analysis of color aerial photography to estimate penguin population size

first_imgPenguin populations are potentially sensitive indicators of ecological change in Antarctic and sub-Antarctic marine ecosystems. Aerial photographic surveys provide the most robust method for estimating breeding population size, particularly for large colonies. Obtaining population estimates from aerial photographs is laborious and usually carried out by manually counting individual birds on highly magnified prints. I derived population estimates using computer-based image analysis of digitally scanned color aerial photographs of macaroni penguin (Eudyptes chrysolophus) colonies at Bird Island, South Georgia. I compared automated image analysis with manual counts from the photographic prints and conventional ground counts, highlighting assumptions that contributed to differences in population estimates. The automated image-analysis routines produced estimates that were highly correlated with ground counts, indicating that the technique could be reliably used for large-scale macaroni penguin population surveys.last_img read more