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14th September 2021
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Call for renewed gender pay gap focus
The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have offered guidance on tackling the gender pay gap, with a report showing that women have been disproportionately disadvantaged during the pandemic. The analysis shows women are more likely to be in sectors shut down by coronavirus, lost their job or been furloughed. While it is mandatory for organisations with 250 or more employees to publish their gender pay gap every year, enforcement has been suspended due to the pandemic. Mandatory reporting is due to resume next month but there is concern that action around the gender pay gap could be de-prioritised by businesses. The CMI and EHRC have urged firms to anonymise CVs and promote shared parental leave, and have also called on firms to advertise jobs at all levels as open to flexible working. CMI chief executive Ann Francke said: “There has never been a more urgent time for awareness of the gender pay gap to be put back front and centre of policy-making,” while EHRC commissioner Suzanne Baxter warned that if progress that has been made towards workplace equality is to continue, “action to address the causes of pay gaps needs to be a key priority.”
Labour to pledge £10 minimum wage
Labour is to pledge to deliver a £10 minimum wage. Party leader Sir Keir Starmer is set to make the guarantee in a speech at the TUC conference that will also see him vow to ban fire-and-rehire and give rights against unfair dismissal to all workers. Arguing that under the current government “working families across the country don’t get a pay rise but will get a tax rise,” Sir Keir will say: “Ensuring good-quality secure work, underpinned with employment rights fit for the reality of modern working, is not only good for employees, but it’s good for business and is part of getting our economy firing on all cylinders.”

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TUC: 'Proper pay rise' would fix shortages
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady says improving pay and conditions for delivery drivers would help address a shortage of staff that has hit the supply chain. Speaking at the TUC Congress in London, she reflected on how to tackle problems with the supply of goods, saying: “Well, here's a novel idea - let's make that industry deliver decent conditions, direct employment and a proper pay rise." She also argued that pay rises were crucial for the Government's "levelling up" agenda, saying: “After decades of real wage cuts... no-one can seriously say working people don't deserve a pay rise." Ms O'Grady, who suggested a rise in capital gains tax could fund an increase in pay for care workers, has also called for a furlough-style scheme to be permanently in place “to keep people in good jobs.” Separately, Ms O'Grady has urged ministers to reconsider an increase in National Insurance contributions, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme that shifting tax to wealth instead may offer a boost in demand for the economy.
Minister's 'two hours' extra work' UC claim under fire
Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey has argued that Universal Credit claimants facing the loss of the £20-a-week uplift will have to do "about two hours' extra work every week" to make up the loss - a claim that has come in for sharp criticism from opposition politicians and charities. Ms Coffey told BBC Breakfast that the Government "will be seeing what we can do to help people perhaps secure those extra hours, but ideally also to make sure they're also in a place to get better paid jobs as well." The Resolution Foundation disputed the figures, saying that between the tapering of benefits as claimants work more hours, tax, National Insurance, travel costs, pension contributions and childcare, claimants could have to work as much as an additional nine hours each week to make up the £20. Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds says the Labour Party will force a Commons vote this week "to give every MP the chance to back struggling families and cancel this cut."
PM says £650bn jobs scheme will help build back better
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has launched a £650bn initiative which ministers say will deliver 425,000 new jobs a year over the next four years. The PM said the Infrastructure Pipeline will create opportunities for apprentices, technicians, graduates and skilled workers, commenting: “From entry-level roles and post university careers, we’re creating the jobs this country needs to build back better following the pandemic.”
We are creeping towards a continuous working week
The FT’s Sarah O’Connor says society’s shared rhythms of daytime work and weekend rest are disintegrating as a “continuous working week” takes hold amid a decline of the traditional 9 to 5.
Half of UK firms plan to increase their workforce
A survey from employment firm Manpower Group has found that a record number of UK firms are planning to hire more staff before the end of the year, with half of employers looking to increase their workforce in Q4. Manpower says the national employment outlook is at an all-time high of 32%, marking a 39-point increase from the end of last year in a system where a positive number indicates that more employers plan to increase rather than cut staff numbers.
KPMG spin-off hires four bosses
Interpath Advisory, the restructuring practice created when private equity group HIG Capital snapped up KPMG’s restructuring unit in March, has hired four new executives. Neil Sumner, a mergers and acquisitions advisor from PwC, and Russell Worrall, a former PwC partner, will lead its deals advisory and transaction services. Dominic Wreford, a forensic specialist who founded Duff & Phelps’ EMEA disputes practice, and Steve Taylor, who ran EY’s UK valuation practice before running his own venture, St James Valuations, will serve as managing directors.
Legal challenge to care worker vaccine mandate
Two care workers are seeking a judicial review over the Government's mandate that care home staff be vaccinated against COVID-19. The legal challenge, which is supported by crowdfunding and campaigner Simon Dolan, argues that the vaccine mandate is an "unlawful and unnecessary restriction." Mr Dolan says that if successful, the review "will protect the livelihoods and freedoms" of thousands of care workers, and that it "should not be the case that the Government can intervene into the lives of the general public and dictate what medical procedures they do or do not have."
Investment banks accelerate efforts to automate junior ‘grunt work’
Wall Street banks are increasing efforts to automate “grunt work” foisted on junior staff, portraying the changes as an attempt to reduce workloads and stop young talent from leaving the industry.
Japan confronts a severe shortage of tech workers
Japan is making a digital push to address a severe shortage of technology workers and engineering students. This talent deficit is made worse by the near absence of women in the fields of science and technology.  UNESCO data indicate that Japan has some of the lowest shares of women in the developed world enrolled in the university programs that produce workers in these fields, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry forecasts a shortfall of 450,000 information technology professionals in Japan by 2030. The World Digital Competitiveness Ranking compiled by the International Institute for Management Development ranks Japan 27th globally and seventh in Asia, behind countries like Singapore, China and South Korea. But the push to elevate women in digital fields could also leave them further behind. The 2021 UNESCO Science Report released in June said that, globally, women stand to lose more than men as automation takes over low-skilled jobs, and women also have fewer opportunities to gain skills in the increasingly high-demand fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning and data engineering. “Because of digitization, some jobs will disappear, and women will probably be affected more than men,” observed Takako Hashimoto, vice president of Chiba University of Commerce and a delegate to the W-20, which advises the Group of 20 major nations on women's issues. “So there's an opportunity here but also a danger.”
Turkey jobless rate increases as supports end
The unemployment rate in Turkey grew to 12.0%  in July from 10.6% a month earlier as pandemic-related labour supports ended, according to official statistics. A prohibition on layoffs and a government wage support system, both adopted in early 2020, expired at the start of July. Both measures were designed to support businesses and registered employees during the public health emergency while managing the unemployment rate, which peaked at 14.4% in July last year.
New French film focuses on tension between labour and profit
French director Stéphane Brizé's new film "Another World" tells the tale of a plant manager who is asked by his bosses to lay off his workers. The movie details the tension between labour and profit in globalised, market-oriented economies, says Reuters. Actor Vincent Lindon features in the role of Philippe Lemesle, an executive at the French unit of Elsonn, a fictional multinational manufacturing business. "It's a story about people who question their commitment, both at the professional and personal level," Brizé told Reuters.

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