The weird workplace

TV goes to the dogs; Flying the lighter skies; Being rude to French president no longer an offence; Asylum seekers not a source of cheap labour; Dubai offers gold to fight obesity epidemic; Everyone gets a fridge
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 08/13/2013

TV goes to the dogs

NEW YORK — Workers who feel guilty for leaving their pooches unattended at home during work hours may soon feel a bit more relaxed at the office. That’s because the dogs could soon have some digital company in the form of a TV channel with programming just for canines. DOGTV, a 24-7 channel designed specifically for man’s best friend, will air in the United States next month on DirecTV. It hopes to attract dogs in some of the 46 million U.S. households that have at least one.

Flying the lighter skies

NEW DELHI — GoAir, a low-cost airline based in India, has decided to recruit only female flight attendants, according to a report in the Times of India. But the move isn’t driven by discrimination, it’s driven by profits in the wake of a falling rupee. Women generally weigh less than men — on average about 15 to 20 kilograms less — which translates into considerable savings when it comes to jet fuel. GoAir says each extra kilo on board costs it five cents per flying hour, and the new policy will save it up to US$500,000 annually. The airline has about 330 cabin crew employees and about 40 per cent of them are male. Men who are currently on the company payroll won’t lose their jobs but as the airline expands — it is buying 80 aircraft in the next seven years and will need about 2,000 flight attendants and pilots — it will limit its search for cabin crew to females.

Being rude to French president no longer an offenCe

PARIS — Being rude to the French president is no longer an offence after Parliament agreed to amend legislation dating back to 1881 in favour of freedom of speech. Whereas before any rude remark risked an automatic fine for “offending the head of state,” the president is now reduced to the same category as ministers and parliamentarians and would need a judge to prove there had been slander or defamation, according to Reuters. No word on the punishment for being rude to your CEO, but it’s still likely to be a career-limiting move.

Asylum seekers not a source of cheap labour

BERLIN — A town in southern Germany has halted a scheme of offering asylum seekers 1.05 euros ($1.37) per hour to carry luggage at a station after rail operator Deutsche Bahn refused permission due to public outcry and criticism the project harkened back to colonial times, according to Reuters. The Town of Schwäbisch Gmünd started the scheme for nine asylum seekers in July to help passengers get up a steep flight of metal steps erected at the station due to construction work. Germany does not have a formal minimum wage but it is illegal to pay a worker an “immoral” wage.

Dubai offers gold to fight obesity epidemic

DUBAI — Dubai’s government will pay residents in gold for losing those extra pounds as part of a government campaign to fight growing obesity in the Gulf Arab emirate. The 30-day weight-loss challenge was launched July 19 to coincide with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, when the faithful refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

Everyone gets a fridge

PYONGYANG — Top performers in Canada might get a big bonus or a significant raise. But in North Korea, the government rewards loyal citizens and high-performing athletes with a made-in-China refrigerator, according to Qz.com. That doesn’t mean, however, that cold drinks are now at arm’s reach. Because the country has an unreliable electricity grid, with frequent blackouts, only a handful are actually using them to store food. Instead, the elite are packing the vegetable crispers with books.

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