A Greater Manchester-based company has adopted a four-day working week in a bid to give its employees more time to ‘focus on themselves’.
Belmont Packaging and its e-commerce sister business, Boxed-Up, both based in Wigan, initially trialled the four-day week in its manufacturing departments before the pandemic in late 2019 with the aim of ‘giving staff more time to focus on themselves, their mental health and their loved ones’ without any pay cut.
And, after the trial proved to be a major success, the company has announced that it will now be making the shorter hours a permanent fixture for its thirty-one staff members this coming week onwards, Business Live reported.
Commercial manager Gareth Rollo said on the new working hours: “As well as valuing our customers, business trade partners and suppliers we also value our biggest assets, the employees whose hard work, and the commitment and dedication that makes our business the success it is.
“In order to further recognise this, and to lead the way in employee health and wellbeing, we are delighted to announce an industry-leading change to ways of working which is intended to give our employees a better work-life balance while allowing us to continue giving our customers the first-class products and service they are accustomed to.”
This news comes just weeks after Scotland announced it would be trialling a four-day working week across a number of its sectors.
IPPR Scotland (the Institute for Public Policy Research) said the reduced hours would be handed to workers as annual leave entitlement, as more public holidays, or as parental leave for those who qualify.
The IPPR suggested a Low Hours Commission to help drive this forward, and a Scottish trial across sectors with the aim to see how this works in non-office employment, on lower pay, and among those with condensed or part-time hours.
Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon had previously promised to provide funding for Scottish companies to offer staff a four-day working week, as per The Independent.
She said: “Before the pandemic struck, many people were already worried about work-life balance. We want to do more to support people to achieve a better balance and help businesses employ as many people as possible.
“As part of that, we will establish a £10m fund to support willing companies to explore and pilot the benefits of a four-day working week.”
Man tragically dies after falling from apartment block near the city centre
Police attended the scene after reports of a man falling in the early hours of this morning
A man has sadly died after falling from an apartment block in Salford.
Police were called to Rolling Street – just off of Trinity Way near Manchester city centre – at around 5:10am this morning after receiving reports that a man had fallen from a building.
Upon arrival at the apartment complex, officers found the man and immediately called emergency services.
Despite the best efforts of paramedics, however, the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
The quiet residential street was sealed off this morning, with two police vehicles seen guarding each side of the cordon.
The cause of the fall is not yet known, though detectives say they are keeping an ‘open mind’ about about the full circumstances of the tragedy.
No arrests have been made and enquiries are said to be ongoing.
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: “Police were called around 5.10am today (January 18th) to Rolling Street, Salford to a report of a male having fallen from a building.
“Emergency services attended and despite the best efforts of paramedics he was sadly pronounced dead at the scene.
“Enquiries are ongoing to establish the full circumstances and detectives are keeping an open mind as they investigate.
“No arrests have been made.”
A spokesperson for Get Living, the company that manages the apartment block, added: “We are very sad to confirm a death at New Maker Yards this morning.
“We are working closely with the emergency services who are continuing their investigation and will issue further information as it becomes available.”
Anyone with any information about the incident should contact police on 101 quoting incident 374 of 18/01/22. Alternatively, details can be passed via the LiveChat at www.gmp.police.uk or via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Bus driver sacked for being ‘too short’ gets job back after winning appeal
Tracey had been driving Manchester buses for over three decades when she was let go for ‘being too short’
The female bus driver who was sacked for being ‘too short’ has been given her job back after winning her highly-publicised appeal.
Despite being one of the first female bus drivers in Manchester and having thirty-four years of experience under her belt, Tracey Scholes was found to lack the ‘capability’ to drive Go North West’s new vehicles safely.
The position of the new buses’ wing mirrors required the fifty-seven-year-old, from Heywood, to lean around a pillar to see them, meaning she could not keep her feet safely on the pedals.
Because of this, Tracey was offered a different position driving the company’s school buses, though it would mean a reduction in hours worked and pay.
The company also offered the bus driver her current pay rate but with reduced hours, which meant she would still be losing around £230 a month, the Unite union said. She turned down both positions and was subsequently given her notice.
Tracey’s story was quick to go viral and gained the support of celebrities including actors Maxine Peake, Julie Hesmondhalgh and James Quinn. A petition was also set up in support of Tracey has gained a massive 29,214 signatures at the time of writing.
Also at her wit’s end, Tracey herself launched a desperate appeal last week to keep her job, which saw hundreds of people turn out at the Queens Road Depot in Cheetham Hill where the appeal hearing was taking place to show their support.
And this week, the campaigning has paid off, with Go North West officially offering Tracey her job back where she would drive a different model of bus.
Under the new deal, Tracey will start earlier to allow her to pick up a bus with wing mirrors of her preference, and her weekly hours and rate of pay will remain unchanged.
Go North West’s HR director Scott Maynard said in a statement that the company was ‘pleased’ their ‘valued and long-serving driver’ was to stay with Go North West ‘after she decided to accept an offer to drive different buses as per a proposal made in September’.
Scott Maynard added: “We have said from the start that we wanted to keep Tracey and we are glad that she has changed her mind and decided to stay.”
He said the company “operates no height restrictions on recruitment, and has multiple drivers of the same height, or below, as Tracey”.
“It is categorically untrue that we would, or could, have threatened anybody with dismissal on grounds of height.”
BBC TV licence to be axed, culture secretary hints
‘The BBC can learn to cut waste like any other business’
The BBC licence fee could be abolished and replaced with a government grant with viewers paying a voluntary subscription for entertainment and sport by 2027, new reports have detailed today.
The Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries is expected to confirm that the cost of an annual TV licence – which is required to watch live television and access iPlayer services – will remain at £159 until 2024 before rising slightly for the following three years.
Dorries has recently indicated that she wants to find a new funding model for the BBC after the current licence fee funding deal expires in 2027.
She wrote on Twitter: “This licence fee announcement will be the last. The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors are over. Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content.”
The move would force the BBC to negotiate a new funding model, with potential options including a voluntary subscription service, part-privatisation, or direct government funding.
The Mail on Sunday reported that an ally of Dorries said: “There will be a lot of anguished noises about how it will hit popular programmes, but they can learn to cut waste like any other business.
“This will be the last BBC licence fee negotiation ever. Work will start next week on a mid-term review to replace the charter with a new funding formula.”
“It’s over for the BBC as they know it.”
However, Dorries’ stance has been met with overwhelming backlash, with a number of TV and radio stars having since rallied behind the BBC’s TV licence and slamming her decision as an ‘attack on a British institution’.
Former footballer Gary Lineker led the criticism, with him hailing the BBC as ‘the most treasured of National treasures’.
Lineker tweeted to his 8 million followers: “It should be the most treasured of National treasures. Something true patriots of our country should be proud of. It should never be a voice for those in government whoever is in power.”
He pointed out in a separate Tweet: “Yes the BBC brings you the best in news, in sport, in drama, in music, in children’s, in science, in history, in entertainment, in current affairs and Sir David bloody Attenborough….but apart from that was has the BBC ever done for us?”
Broadcaster Victoria Coren Mitchell also voiced her support for the licence, noting that the press and politicians can’t see the importance of the channel because they’re ‘trapped inside their own relationship with the news.’
Podcaster Greg Jenner added: “The BBC is 100 years old this year. It has constantly changed throughout that time, and it’s still greatly valued by the British people – such a pity the Culture Secretary would rather fight the Culture Wars.”