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January 5, 2010
1) Illegal workers in Government jobs
2) Clergy bullying 'rife' says Unite union
3) Call for anonymous CVs to stop job interview sexism and racism
4) What employment prospects lie ahead in 2010?
5) Banker fired at 42 wins age case against CIBC
6) Retreat on 'draconian' testing for disability benefit
7) Harriet Harman attacks BBC 'ageism'
8) Public sector staff 'earn 7% more'
9) Rising public sector pay cost £11bn in taxes
10) Recession will lead to 'lost generation' of young people
Illegal workers in Government jobs
Some 349 illegal foreign staff have been given jobs with Whitehall departments, councils and NHS Trusts over the past four years. The details were obtained by putting in requests under the Freedom of Information Act. The Home Office admitted employing a dozen illegal workers, 11 Nigerians and a Ghanaian. Ten of them were cleaners at Beckett House, the headquarters of the UK Border Agency, which is responsible for vetting immigrants. The two others worked as a chef and a security guard at the Home Office itself - regarded as among the country's most likely terrorist targets. Altogether, three Government departments, 34 local authorities and 54 NHS Trusts admitted hiring a total of 249 illegals since 2006. Six were employed as teachers at secondary schools, while four became doctors.
Clergy bullying 'rife' says Unite union
Workplace bullying of the clergy has become "rife", according to the union Unite which says priests are being picked on by bishops and parishioners. The union has set up a hotline where the clergy can report abuse, and says it deals with up to 150 cases a year. "Bishops have got a lot nastier", says the Reverend Gerry Barlow, chair of the faith workers branch of Unite. Unite says the bullying frequently comes from superiors within the church who may be under financial pressure. Unite is lobbying for the government to change the law to give priests greater protection. But the Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, told the BBC that while the church was "a human community like any other", a change of status was not necessarily the solution. "The majority of clergy do not actually want employment status …”
Call for anonymous CVs to stop job interview sexism and racism
Government's ethnic minority taskforce due to report in new year on research that uncovered widespread discrimination. Race advisers and equality campaigners have called on the government to make "anonymous" CVs and job applications compulsory to overcome discrimination against women and people with African or Asian surnames. Some British companies have already begun stripping out personal details so those deciding who to invite for interview are only told about their qualifications and experience, and not their ethnicity, gender or age. The government's ethnic minority taskforce is due to report in the new year on the findings of research commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions which uncovered widespread racial discrimination against workers with African and Asian names.
What employment prospects lie ahead in 2010?
The fear of redundancy cast a shadow over many workers in 2009 and was the year of fear. Many firms have tended to be very conservative in their staffing decisions. These conservative decisions - job cuts, recruitment freezes - have helped push the unemployment rate in the UK up to 7.9%, with almost 2.5 million people out of work. Competition for jobs has inevitably increased. At the end of 2008, Totaljobs was receiving about five applications for every job posted. A year later, that figure had almost doubled. So if 2009 was the year of fear, what's in store in 2010? Austerity, according to John Salt of Totaljobs. "A sense of cautious optimism is now building," he says. For anyone looking for any "green shoots" of recovery in the latest unemployment statistics, there may be a glimmer hope. Although unemployment is still increasing, the rate at which it is doing so is slowing.
Banker fired at 42 wins age case against CIBC
A 42-year-old London-based banker has won an age discrimination ruling against one of Canada's largest banks after being declared redundant during the credit crisis last year. The London South Employment Tribunal upheld the case for age discrimination after deciding that the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) had been unable to demonstrate that its decision to dismiss him "was not significantly influenced by his age". The bank is facing a potentially large payout after the case, which anti-ageism groups described as a victory "for all those who face age discrimination at work". The employee was shed by the company ostensibly as part of a broader redundancy programme in the marketing team in May 2008. However, the tribunal held that the criteria for a new marketing executive, set out in an internal memo, included a stipulation that the person should fit a "younger, entrepreneurial profile". The bank, it said, had provided an "unconvincing" explanation for its use of the word "younger", by which it claimed, it meant simply less experienced.
Retreat on 'draconian' testing for disability benefit
Ministers are to change the way disabled people are assessed for benefits amid uproar over a "draconian" testing regime that aims to cut the welfare bill and get more people into work. The Department for Work and Pensions is to review the work capability assessment test – a key part of its welfare-to-work programme – after being warned that it was deeply flawed and would lead to many disabled people, and those with genuine health problems, being unfairly penalised. The government wants to slash the number of people on incapacity benefit – to be replaced by a new benefit, the employment and support allowance (ESA) – by one million from its current total of 2.7 million. Over the next three years, it intends to test all those on incapacity benefit to find out if they are genuinely unable to work, and then place them on ESA, where payments differ according to levels of disability or illness.
Harriet Harman attacks BBC 'ageism'
Equalities minister Harriet Harman accused the BBC of "wasting a lot of talent" and upsetting viewers by not valuing older female newsreaders. Ms Harman, who is also Labour's deputy leader, said that female BBC news presenters had to be 10 years younger than their male counterparts. She told the BBC's World This Weekend: "It's essentially an old-fashioned attitude that thinks you can't value the experience and wisdom of an older woman." A former senior BBC executive said: 'the way we saw it was that as male presenters got older they become an authority and as female presenters got older they became a problem'.
Public sector staff 'earn 7% more'
Public sector workers earn 7% on average more than their counterparts in the private sector, and the gap has doubled since the recession began. Analysis of official figures by a newspaper suggests staff employed by the state are getting bigger pay rises, working fewer hours and receiving pensions far in excess of their peers. Since Labour came to power, the number of public sector workers increased by 914,000 to more than six million - around a fifth of the workforce. Data published by the Office for National Statistics indicate that average earnings in the public sector rose to £22,405 last year, compared to £20,988 in the private sector. The previous year non-state employees were just 3% behind on this measure, and until 2005 they were receiving more. Last year the average public sector employee worked for 25 hours a week - a fall of an hour on the previous year, and two and a half hours less than private sector workers. The average state employee also enjoys three or four more days of holiday a year, the paper found.
Rising public sector pay cost £11bn in taxes
Britons would have been spared £11bn in taxes had public sector pay rises been kept in line with the private sector over the past two years, according to a think-tank. The CEBR said public sector pay rose by 3.9pc in the year to September 2008 and by 2.9pc in the year to September 2009. The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) calculated that the equivalent saving in government spending could have been made had the state employee wage bill been reined in. Total public sector pay was £180bn in the year to September 2009, the CEBR said, marking an 8.4pc rise over two years. Private sector pay rose by only 1.8pc over the same period, it said. The think-tank said that rising public sector employment – at a time when the private sector has been shedding jobs because of the financial crisis – partly explained the difference in pay rises.
Recession will lead to 'lost generation' of young people
A Prince's Trust survey warns that young victims of the recession will find it hard to secure jobs and attain happiness in the future. An unemployed and dejected "lost generation" of young people will find it increasingly hard to secure jobs and attain happiness in the future, according to a survey. The recession is likely to scar the lives of the almost a million people currently under 25 and out of work who are the main victims of this recession. The young unemployed are already significantly less happy and confident than those in work, it claims. The extent to which feelings of lowered self-esteem permeate the lives of youths not in employment, education or training is revealed. Conducted for The Prince's Trust, the YouGov Youth Index documents the psychological setbacks inflicted on 16 to 25-year-olds – including graduates and those with fewer qualifications – as they struggle to find jobs.