From the TUC

Web links for 27th January 2012

27 Jan 2012, by in Web links

  • A German research paper looking at Germany and the UK shows that “work-hour mismatches (i.e., differences between actual and desired hours) have negative effects on workers´ health. In particular, we show that ‘overemployment’ – working more hours than desired − has negative effects on different measures of self-perceived health.”
  • “Variable pay for performance, while it may seem attractive in theory, creates more problems than it solves. There’s no proof that it helps achieve its intended purposes, and other approaches not only work better but also strengthen employee loyalty.”Four “inescapable flaws”:
    1. Impossible to say in advance what tasks will need to be done precisely enough to set the parameters for payment.
    2. Workers spend their time & energy on meeting the criteria (which they often find easy because they know the specifics of their jobs better than anyone else.)
    3. And they focus exclusively on tasks covered by the criteria and neglect other important tasks.
    4. Performance pay tends to crowd out intrinsic motivation – which supports innovation and encourages beyond-the-ordinary contributions.

  • In January, domestic and export orders and deliveries were down on the previous month. Optimisim about the business situation and export prospects still very low and investment intentions for buildings and plant/machinery are negative (but positive for product and process innovation and training and retraining.)
    By far the biggest factor likely to limit capital expenditure authorisation is “uncertainty about demand”, quoted by 61% of respondents.
    But manufacturers do expect an improvement in output and export orders and CBI says there is some reason for being a little more optimistic, especially in the light of improving US performance.
  • The CBI’s monthly survey finds shoppers cutting their spending after Christmas and sales falling. 44% of retailers reported sales volumes falling from a year ago and 22% saw them increase. The net balance of -22% was the lowest since March 2009.