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Issue:- 24 April 2014

GMB is calling on the UK Government to use the Tax System to curb excessive pay and bonuses

VINCE Cable has same chance as King Canute rolling back the waves as getting the City fat cats to voluntarily take their snouts out of the bonus troughs says GMB.  GMB commented on letter from Business Secretary Vince Cable to top companies urging them to show restraint over executive pay and slash bonuses to restore public trust.    Paul Kenny, GMB General Secretary, said:- "GMB has repeatedly warned since the days of Cedric the Pig protest on excessive executive pay that exhortation will not curb excessive pay. Vince Cable has same chance as King Canute rolling back the waves as getting the City fat cats to voluntarily take their snouts out of the bonus troughs.  The share of income from labour in the UK going to the top 1% of earners has nearly doubled from 7% in 1970 to 13% in 2011. Before the recession the top 1% of earners were raking in over 15% of all pay. See notes to editors for the data series since 1970. This doubling of the share to the top 1% is leaving less money for the pay of the rest of the workforce. Fat cats like Simon Wolfson at NEXT getting all the cream is the major reason for the growth in precarious forms of employment like zero hours, bogus self employment, agency and temporary work, very short hours part time jobs, flexible and casual employment.  The lesson from history is that Government has to use the tax system to deter employers paying excessive pay. If the marginal tax rate for earnings above £1m a year is raised to 80% there would be a dramatic drop in numbers getting paid that amount. That would leave more for the rest. This would help the economy will get back to pre-recession levels as we have a very long way to go to climb out of the hole caused by the recession. Given the increase in population GDP per head is still 5.8% below 2007 levels. This is the root cause of average earnings being down 13.8% in real terms since then."

HR specialists speak up about new labour laws in France

THE Liverpool based HR specialists, High Performance Consultancy (HPC), have contested the changes to working laws announced in France last week, suggesting they are a step too far, but what do you think? 

A new labour law that High Performance Consultancy says has been shaped in France to protect those working in the digital and consultancy sectors from responding to emails after 6pm will damage business. They say that:- "Employers will no longer be allowed to contact staff during the 133 hours of designated rest time during the week. It is reported that companies must also take measures to ensure their employees come under no pressure to read work related emails or documents outside of the specified working hours."

Managing Director at HPC, Victoria Brown is of the opinion that the new law may not be welcomed by employers, or in fact employees in the UK. She said:- "Since the release of easy to access mobile devices such as Smartphone's, it has made it easier for employees to be contacted when away from the office or outside of office hours. However, this development has also afforded people the opportunity to have a more flexible approach to their work and to maintain control over how they manage their workload. This includes more opportunities for home working, which has allowed many to move away from the traditional 9 to 5 working day. In the hierarchical set-up of the modern workplace, employees typically have more autonomy over workloads and restricting the opportunity to respond to emails could cause unnecessary stress. This move could potentially be doing more harm than good, as it could be perceived as de-motivating in taking the control away from employees are wholly committed to their career development. For some time there has been a move towards reducing red tape for businesses, and to introduce these legislations, I believe would be counterproductive. The Working Time Regulations are already in place, giving protection to employees. Good employers recognise they have a duty of care to their employees and already have measures in place to support and encourage the right work-life balance."

Sweden is currently reviewing working conditions and have proposed reducing working hours to just 30 hours a week, with full pay for staff in Gothenburg; an experiment has been based around the theory that suggests that after 6 hours, employees become tired and productivity is significantly reduced.  So should the UK follow those countries and do the same, or can the UK businesses and workers seize this opening and profit from this, for example by offering out of hour services for French Firms?

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