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Gender pay gaps must be declared by UK companies
UK companies with 250 or more employees will have to publish their gender pay gaps within the next year under a new legal requirement. The move is part of attempts to fight workplace discrimination. The UK gender pay gap of 18.1% for all workers, or 9.4% for full-time staff. Women and Equalities minister Justine Greening said “helping women to reach their full potential isn’t only the right thing to do, it makes good economic sense”. Public, private and voluntary sector firms are now all required to disclose average pay for men and women, including any bonuses. About half of the UK workforce will be affected by the new reporting rules, which encompass 9,000 employers and more than 15 million employees. Firms must publish a snapshot of their employee pay as at 5 April 2017 if they are a private business or charity, or 31 March 2017 for those in the public sector.
Parking fine appeal success varies between council areas
The likelihood of successfully challenging parking fines varies widely depending on where drivers get a ticket, research has shown. Some English councils approve only one in 10 appeals against on-street fines, while others accept nearly every one. Runnymede Council in Surrey accepted just 9% of appeals while Basingstoke – just 30 miles away – approved 95%. Figures obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show about a third of driver challenges were accepted..
Councils which accepted the fewest challenges:
BMW workers to stage first UK strikes over pensions
Workers at BMW’s UK plants are taking strike action over plans to close the company’s final salary pension scheme.
Unite the union will call eight 24 hour strikes across four sites, starting on 19 April and ending on 24 May.
It will be the first time that staff at BMW’s UK operations have staged a walk-out. BMW employs about 8,000 people and Unite says that the action could involve up to 3,500 workers who are in final-salary pension schemes. Unite claims that BMW’s intention to close the pension scheme by 31 May could reduce employees’ retirement income by £160,000. BMW said it was “disappointed” at the prospect of industrial action.
NI employers feel effects of apprenticeship levy
Northern Ireland employers are facing a new cost as the apprenticeship levy comes into force today across the UK.
It is effectively a 0.5% tax on businesses with a wage bill of more than £3m. Both public and private sector employers will be affected including manufacturers, government departments, education authorities and health trusts. It is unclear what benefit this will bring to businesses or the executive. In England, when an employer pays the levy they get vouchers to spend on apprenticeships.
Bank of England’s Vlieghe says no need for interest rate rise soon
A rise in interest rates in the short term is unnecessary because consumer finances are increasingly squeezed and the rise in inflation appears temporary, a member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee has said. In a speech in London on Tuesday, Gertjan Vlieghe, an external member of the BoE’s rate-setting committee, suggested financial markets had overestimated the chances of an interest rate rise in the year ahead.
Electric cars provide extra spark for record sales figures
A surge in demand for plug-in battery models and petrol-electric hybrids and the fast-approaching prospect of new vehicle excise duty rates have lifted new car sales to record levels. There were 562,337 new cars registered last month, a leap of 8.4 per cent on the same period in 2016. March is always a bumper month for the motor trade, often accounting for about one fifth of all annual sales, but this year there was the added incentive of registering before April 1 and the first day of the new car tax regime.
Make car makers, not drivers, pay for the diesel crisis, experts say
The diesel-fuelled air pollution crisis should be solved by making motor companies recall and upgrade the dirty cars they sold, experts said on Wednesday. Current UK plans are focused on making diesel drivers pay to enter cities and a possible taxpayer-funded scrappage scheme. But both the German and French governments have already required that manufacturers including Volkswagen, Opel, Audi, Mercedes and Renault fix over a million diesel vehicles which were spewing far higher levels of toxic pollution on the road than in official tests.
Uber contract ‘written in gibberish to baffle drivers’
Uber has been accused by MPs of using contracts written in gibberish to confuse its drivers, many of whom have only a basic grasp of English. A cross-party Commons committee has also revealed how ruthless firms like Uber, courier Deliveroo and Amazon require drivers to sign a gagging clause whereby they agree not to challenge their self-employed status. By agreeing to be classified as self-employed, drivers waive their entitlement to the most basic benefits enjoyed by employees such as holiday and sick pay.
Living near busy roads CHANGES a woman’s boobs, ‘increasing the risk of breast cancer’
Women who live beside busy roads are at a greater risk of breast cancer, a study claims. It found those exposed to high levels of air pollution were more likely to have dense breast tissue — which raises the risk of developing the disease. The US research looked at nearly 280,000 women, ranking pollution in their area. For every unit increase in smog, their chance of dense breasts increased four per cent.