World briefs

Preparations for Olympics cost lives • Most Dell workers offshore • A note about pay for performance • Guns at work

Preparations for Olympics cost lives

— Workplace safety has been pushed aside in the race to get Athens ready for this summer’s Olympics, resulting in at least 13 deaths and many serious injuries. In comparison, just one worker was killed while building venues for the 2000 Sydney Olympics. One union leader told the British paper The Independent that the high death toll is due to overwork, contractors pocketing money meant for safety and unskilled immigrants operating heavy machinery.

Most Dell workers offshore

Round Rock, Texas
— While criticism mounts against firms sending white-collar jobs offshore, computing hardware giant Dell now has more employees overseas than in the U.S. At the end of January, Dell had 46,000 employees, with 23,800 (51.7 per cent) working offshore. Just one year ago, more than 54 per cent of staff worked in the U.S. Dell attributes the reversal to growth opportunities in China and Japan.

A note about pay for performance

— Sixteen violinists in a Bonn, Germany, orchestra are suing for a pay raise because they play more notes than those who play instruments like the flute, oboe or trombone. Orchestra director Laurentius Bonitz told the BBC the claim was “ridiculous.” The violinists were also critical of a collective bargaining agreement they claim gives bonuses to soloists. The Sydney Morning Herald reported Australian musicians found the idea humorous and came up with some alternative ways to calculate pay of their own, including charging waiting time for timpani players who, like taxi drivers, sit around for long interludes on the job.

Guns at work

— Employers in Ohio have a new health and safety predicament: concealed guns. A new state law allows people to carry concealed weapons even at workplaces, except government buildings, day-care centres, airports and bars. Employers that want a gun-free workplace must post signs and notices and add new language to workplace policies and regulations to make sure employees leave guns at home.

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