Rewarding staff the Anglo-Saxon way• French giant Alcatel has broken national tradition by granting 7.2 millionstock options to 99 per cent of its staff worldwide. It is adopting thestrongly Anglo-Saxon practice in order to “motivate and retain keyemployees”, said a statement. Resistance in France to such arrangements iscaused partly by the heavier tax regime than the US or Britain, and partly dueto connotations of “élitism” with the feeling they largely benefitthe most senior directives.www.tornado-insider.comFirms fail to mark Martin Luther King Day• Only around a quarter of US employers gave staff the day off last Monday,which was Martin Luther King day. The figure was actually slightly down on theyear before, according to research, carried out by independent publisher BNA.Those which comply are predominantly the banks and government departments. ManyAfrican Americans took the day off whether or not their companies observed it,and attended parades or conferences, said Aubry Stone, president of theCalifornia Black Chamber of Commerce.www.shrm.orgLuxembourg is yet to join employee forum move• Negotiations over the first European works councils under Portuguese lawbegan in December, following the compliance of Portugal, which currently hasthe EU presidency, with the Works Council Directive. With the passing of thelaw in the UK on 15 January, Luxembourg is now the only EU country not tocomply with the law requiring an employee forum for transnational companies.Portuguese firms where discussions have begun are mostly in the banking andchemical sectors, including the Caixa Geral de Depósitos and the Banco Pinto eSotto Mayor.www.eiro.eurofound.ieUS firms face more discrimination cases• Private lawsuits alleging discrimination in the workplace rose threefoldin the US in the 1990s, official figures show. Cases filed with the courts rosefrom 6,936 in 1990 to 21,540 in 1998, the Justice Department reported. Civilrights complaints of all varieties more than doubled, increasing from 18,793 to42,354.www.shrm.orgSwiss workforce up to full strength• Switzerland has approached full employment, latest figures show, withfewer than 100,000 out of work. The unemployment rate is 2.7 per cent, andeconomists predict that if anything it will actually fall in the course of thenext year. Le FigaroHours law is discriminatory, court rules• The planned 35-hour week in France has received a setback after theconstitutional court ruled key parts were illegal. The Socialist government hasoffered firms the opportunity to pay only 10 per cent extra for overtime ifthey introduced the shorter working week promptly, with the rate increasing to25 per cent after two years. The court ruled the two-tier scheme wasdiscriminatory. FTBy Philip Whiteley In BriefOn 25 Jan 2000 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.