News briefs (September 25, 2000)

By
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/05/2001

BONUSES FOR NORTHERN SERVICE

Victoria — British Columbia is offering a $12,000 bonus to every child protection worker in the rural northern part of the province in an attempt to alleviate severe staff shortages in the area. A child protection worker who makes a two-year commitment to stay in the north receives $4,000 after the first year and $8,000 after the second.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE LIKELY TO DROP AGAIN

Toronto — After a brief summertime slowdown in the job market, hiring is expected to pick up again in the last quarter of 2000. Based on a national survey of Canadian employers, Manpower Inc. predicts 30 per cent of employers will hire more staff in the fourth quarter dropping the unemployment rate to 6.5 per cent by the end of the year. Wholesale and retail sectors will lead the way with 41 per cent of businesses in those sectors planning to add staff to respond to seasonal sales surges, though most sectors are poised to hire more aggressively than for the same period in years past.

50 EMPLOYEES FIRED OVER E-MAILS

Detroit — After monitoring all e-mail usage over a one-week period in response to an employee complaint about offensive material being distributed by other employees, Dow Chemical Co. decided to fire 50 employees and reprimand 200 others. The material ranged from the mildly pornographic to the seriously graphic and violent, said a company spokesperson, adding employees who simply opened e-mails and deleted them were not punished. But any employees who downloaded, saved and distributed objectionable material were disciplined. Books sent to employees last March outlined the prohibition of computers for objectionable subject matter, the spokesperson said.

PUBLIC-SECTOR SECRET TO LOW IT TURNOVER?

Ottawa — In the high-tech industry, where 20 per cent turnover rates are not uncommon, the revelation that the government has a turnover rate of just 2.4 per cent for its high-tech staff has some experts scratching their heads. While admitting their salaries don’t compete with private-sector firms, the government’s chief of HR credits their generous pensions, benefits, training and family-friendly policies for keeping turnover low. However, the head of the union representing federal government IT workers questioned the findings.

“GOING POSTAL” A MYTH

New York — A new study of the United States Postal Service has found violence in the postal service is no more common than in other workplaces. But while U.S. postal workers are no more likely to suffer violence at work, the study found they are six times more likely to believe they are at greater risk. The union which represents U.S. postal workers rejects the findings saying there is a problem because managers aren’t held accountable for their treatment of employees.

OVERWORK BLAMED FOR FAULTY FIRESTONE TIRES

Decatur, Ill. — Former employees of Bridgestone-Firestone Inc. claim they were overworked and the quality of the tires they were producing likely suffered because of it. Retired employees from the plant where most of the 6.5 million recently recalled tires were made say because they were expected to examine so many tires in an hour (as many as 100) some received little or no inspection. In court the company admitted employees could receive additional compensation for making tires above a certain rate.

WOMEN'S BUSINESS GROUP COMES TO CANADA

Toronto — Catalyst, the non-profit group that advocates for and documents the advancement of women in business has set up shop in Toronto to focus on Canadian women in business. The organization helps companies find women and offers consulting services, and tracks the representation of women in board rooms and in executive positions.

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