News in brief: federal government addresses skills gap; BP's major payout; CEO shares bonus

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Federal initiatives will help manufacturers find skilled workers
A range of new federal government initiatives will help Canada’s manufacturers solve skill shortages. In partnership with Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) the government will help internationally trained engineers, technicians and technologists obtain jobs in their fields faster by connecting with Canadian employers facing labour shortages in manufacturing.
It is also providing funding to the CME to develop occupational standards for the manufacturing sector, with the goal of helping colleges and other educators develop curriculum to ensure future graduates have the skills needed in the industry. Other programs include a regional network for stakeholders to share labour market information, and a new Manufacturing Skills Lab to develop solutions to the skills challenge in the manufacturing sector.
BP faces $60,700 per worker from Gulf spill health woes
Four years after BP's Gulf spill, cleanup workers are still facing serious health issues and the global petroleum giant could face a hefty bill.
A settlement reached between BP and cleanup workers and coastal residents could benefit up to 200,000 people. It has been approved by a federal court and is now being considered by the claimants. It establishes set amounts of money — up to US$60,700 in some cases — to cover costs of various ailments and developed related illnesses, such as respiratory problems and skin conditions.
It also provides for regular physical examinations every three years for up to 21 years, and it reserves a worker's right to sue BP over conditions that develop down the road, if the worker believes they can prove a connection to the spill.
While BP noted in its response that protective clothing and safety classes were provided, research from the cleanup shows many did not use the clothing due to the heat.
UK retail CEO shares £4m bonus with staff
For the second year in a row, the chief executive of UK retail giant Next is to share his cash bonus with thousands of staff.
Simon Wolfson plans to divide his £4m bonus among 20,000 employees who have worked for the company since April 2011, which will translate into a one off payment equivalent to a 1.5 per cent pay rise.
In a letter to the company earlier this week, Wolfson thanked his workforce for everybody’s “hard work” in helping achieve a 65 per cent growth in profits per share over the past three years.
However, not everyone was satisfied with the move. National officer of the GMB union, which represents retail staff, Mick Rix said even with the pay rise most Next employees did not earn a living wage.

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