RMT strike vote after ‘sick’ driver seen playing squash

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. RMT strike vote after ‘sick’ driver seen playing squashOn 14 Oct 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. The RMT union has urged members to strike after a union activist was sackedfor playing squash while off on sick leave with an ankle injury. The driver was allegedly spotted playing the game “vigorously” byLondon Underground’s revenue protection team. The RMT will ballot its drivers on the Hammersmith and City Line of theLondon Underground (LU) in an attempt to reverse the decision, which they feelis backhanded and unacceptable. The union claims the LU employee was not given a chance and that he has producedevidence that his GP advised him that increased exercise would speed up hisrecovery. An LU spokesman said the man has been off work with this particular injurysince May, and has spent a total of 218 days off sick since he joined LU in1998. “We are disappointed the RMT has chosen to order a strike ballot whenthe disciplinary process is not yet exhausted,” he said. last_img read more

All things relative: HR in a family business

first_imgThere may be trouble ahead… Previous Article Next Article For HR professionals looking to further their career, working in a family business might seem a daunting prospect. But as Nick Martindale discovers, it can present the opportunity to gain a broader range of experiences than a corporate career might offer.HR practitioners usually develop their careers in the relative comfort of larger private- or public-sector organisations where policies and procedures are long-embedded. But imagine being involved in the design and realisation of a new HR function in a smaller business. There may be a need to work around or adapt procedures that may have grown up alongside the business, but if that business is also family owned or family managed, there is also the potential for some tricky personnel politics. For those coming from a non-family business, there’s likely to be a cultural change, says Jack Neill-Hall, communications manager at the Institute for Family Business (IFB): “Family businesses generally take a much longer-term perspective – much more so than private equity firms or public companies, which often have to report on a quarterly basis and deliver increased shareholder value over two- to three-year periods.”He gives the example of the bakery Warburtons, which is now in its fourth generation and where the family is still actively involved in the governance of the business: “You see it in their advertising: ‘From our Family to Yours’. You have to understand the value and timescales these firms are looking at.” Focus on the family cultureDr Jill Miller is a research adviser at the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) and specialises in the area of small businesses, a category many family firms fit into. She stresses the need to understand the values of the business and that HR policy – including the recruitment of future staff – must flow from that.“The first thing is to gain a good understanding of the family values and the vision of the organisation,” she says. “You need to tailor your approach to meet the business needs.” One example of this is the need to ensure any more formal processes that may have to be introduced – such as middle-management tiers – also reflect the values of the family, to keep alive the feel of the original business, she adds. Putting in place or developing a more formal structure is likely to be a core part of the remit of any HR professional joining a family firm, particularly if it is the first time that business has sought to create an HR presence (only 20% of owner-managed family businesses and 19% of owner-governed family businesses have an HR strategy, in comparison with 35% of non-family-owned businesses).This was the case for Dominic Ceraldi, HR manager at Pimlico Plumbers. Here, the challenge was not just to formalise processes, but also to demonstrate to the founder – managing director Charlie Mullins – just what HR could do. “When I started out working at Pimlico there was no HR function in place and I honestly believe Charlie just saw me as his ‘recruitment bloke’,” Ceraldi says. “I knew it was integral for me to gain his trust by developing an in-depth understanding of the business and sharing his vision of how the company would move forward.”For Ceraldi, the culture shock was even more pronounced, having moved from what he describes as a “bureaucratic government department”: “It was a really steep learning curve, but it stood me in good stead for my future with the company. I came to a very quick realisation that every decision that I made would have a direct impact on the family business, and that was rather daunting.”The right person for the right roleHelen Broughton is director of people and standards at accountancy firm Danbro, and one of the family firm’s founders. She has seen at firsthand how people “fill in” certain positions while the business is growing and how this can cause issues further down the line.“As the company grew, the people who were there at the start grew with it and teams were built underneath them,” she says. “But not everybody is cut out to be a strategic thinker and to set the direction of the company for the next 10 years. Sometimes you have to have difficult conversations about not being the right person strategically.” This kind of situation could also face an HR professional coming in from outside the organisation, she adds.Yet working for a family firm can be a good career move, partly as a result of having been through such experiences. “If you have big corporate experience and then move into a family business, future employers may see it as a positive as you have been at the coalface of a business,” says Sona Sherratt, client director at Ashridge Business School. She warns though, that much also depends on the nature of the family in question: “Are they consultative or dictatorial; structured or unstructured? Do they have a clear business plan and strategy? Do they delegate or micromanage?”Family businesses may be be a little less predictable than more corporate environments, but you could quickly gain experiences that might otherwise be harder to come by. As Miller points out, family businesses offer the opportunity to get involved in all aspects of HR and even wider business issues, which would be unlikely to be the case in larger corporates: “You’ll get the opportunity to be involved in everything because you’re not going to go into a huge HR team. You won’t just be focusing on reward or learning and development; you’ll be very much a generalist. There’s the opportunity to be really innovative.”Personnel Today Jobs has a selection of job vacancies in small businesses.Staff handbooks: Example staff handbook structure for small businesses. Any HR professional coming into a family business could find themselves caught up in tension between family members and a wider executive team – containing non-family members – over the wider business strategy, warns Julian Hemming, an employment partner at international law firm Osborne Clarke.“The executive team will want to drive performance across the business, and that may be challenging to family members who may regard the business as a lifestyle choice to which they are only prepared to devote a restricted amount of time and commitment,” he says. In some cases, this can result in the executive team working with a leading family member to exit other family members who may not be performing, he says, which can have a knock-on effect if others – such as spouses – then feel their position is untenable. “The best family businesses that I act for tend to have a strong family leader to whom other family members accept they have to defer, or where the family recognise that the real value is in their shareholding and so it is in their interests to let the management team manage and to properly incentivise them through stock options,” he says. All things relative: HR in a family businessBy Nick Martindale on 8 Jul 2013 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Bypassing the rental broker: Will agents get cut out as startups nip at market share?

first_img Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink (Illustration by Andrew Colin Beck)Being a New York City rental broker has always been a tough gig. But the job is getting even harder.It’s now been exactly one year since StreetEasy began charging a daily $3 fee to post a rental listing on its site — a move that hit brokers in the pocketbook at a time when margins were already thin.The fee — which does not seem to have dissuaded brokers from using the Zillow-owned site — is just one of several stressors that New York City rental brokers are facing.While Manhattan rental inventory actually dropped in May compared to the same time last year, it’s generally high and concessions for renters have been rampant. That’s not to mention the fact that landlords have been emboldened by new technology, allowing them to more easily advertise directly to renters.ADVERTISEMENTIn addition, startup websites like Naked Apartments, which Zillow bought for $13 million in 2016, Nestio, RentHop and Flip are all among those that smell opportunity in the long-opaque corner of the market.“It’s the perfect storm of disruption,” said Andrew Heiberger, who’s been vocal about the tight margins in the brokerage business since he stunned the industry and folded his firm, Town Residential, in April.And the pressures are not likely to ease up any time soon.Some predict that the sector will be drastically disrupted in the next five to 10 years, in ways that will only continue to marginalize brokers.In addition to landlords advertising directly to consumers, offerings like flexible leasing, furnished apartments, co-living and roommate matching — now in the early stages in New York — have the potential to collectively transform what it means to rent going forward.Clelia Peters, the President of Warburg Realty and a co-founder of the real estate tech venture capital firm MetaProp, said that in the under-$7,500-a-month range, there’s a serious question about how much value brokers will be able to add in the new landscape. That’s largely because renting an apartment at those lower price points has far more “limited life implications” than buying. Wealthier renters, she said, will always be more likely to hire a broker to do the legwork for them.“They’re facing pressures coming from a variety of places,” she said. “I don’t think the rental brokerage model will be protected anywhere but at the high end.”StreetEasy’s cut While the initial backlash to StreetEasy’s $3 rental fee was swift — the Corcoran Group and Citi Habitats said they would stop sending their feeds to StreetEasy —  many firms have covered the costs for their agents. (Even Realogy, the parent company of Corcoran and Citi Habitats, struck a multiyear deal with the site to cover the costs of posting rental and sales listings.)Nonetheless, many are still shelling out for the service themselves.While StreetEasy’s rental listings plummeted 55 percent to about 14,000 from nearly 31,000 shortly after the fee took effect, it has bounced back somewhat from that initial drop. As of last month, The Real Deal counted 19,000 listings on the site. “The reality is that StreetEasy, right now, is the biggest platform. As a broker, there’s no other choice,” said Keller Williams NYC’s Stan Broekhoven.Brokers, he said, are generally spending a few hundred dollars a month for listing fees. “You just calculate that in now,” said Broekhoven, adding that while he posts his rentals on StreetEasy, he now immediately removes a unit after it’s been rented.But while the industry has come to accept that new reality as the cost of doing business, it translates into less take-home pay for rental brokers, who are already hustling for every dollar and reeling in smaller commissions than their counterparts in the luxury sales space.As Mdrn.’s Zach Ehrlich noted, “it’s actually amazing how quickly it became an industry standard.”Direct dialWhile New York City renters have long publicly loathed having to pay brokers, landlords are increasingly catching on to the idea that they can go straight to renters.“It’s definitely a trend I see happening,” said Kobi Lahav, senior managing director at Mdrn. “They’re trying to … go directly to the client.”While it’s not a widespread practice just yet, more landlords are starting to list rental properties directly on consumer-facing websites. Or in some cases, they’re testing out these sites while simultaneously tapping brokers.Anna Krakowski, an operations manager at East Village Property Management, said her company has been using both brokers and direct listings as a way of casting the net wide.Posting units directly allows the company to appeal to renters looking to avoid brokers’ fees, she said, though she noted that the company still gets most clients through agents.“I’m not going to miss out on the opportunity; that’s what it comes down to,” Krakowski added. “The more exposure we get, the quicker we get these units off the market.”Last July, Nestio, which launched in 2011 as a platform to let New York City property owners manage and track their rental portfolios online, began offering custom websites for landlords to draw in potential renters without the help of StreetEasy or other third-party aggregators.Nestio CEO Caren Maio — whose firm has raised $11.9 million in venture money to date — told TRD last year that the impetus for creating a consumer-facing product for landlords was the discovery that more than half the traffic to their websites was occurring after hours, when leasing offices are closed.“As a landlord, management company or broker with exclusives, it gives you the ability to more effectively brand yourself and capture a consumer directly,” Maio said at the time.Last month, she told TRD that in less than a year Nestio has on-boarded almost 100 websites for landlords, including sites for two of Forest City New York’s Brooklyn rentals, DKLB BKLN and 38 Sixth Avenue. With pressure on margins, brokerages have had to be more strategic about investing resources and measuring results, Maio said. Many have been adopting new tech tools as a way to attract and retain agents. They’re also bringing on more experienced brokers to stay competitive, she said. “Is it harder than it was two, three, four years ago? Sure,” Maio said of being a broker. “The seeds have been planted for many years.”Meanwhile, other startups are targeting smaller niches of the market — like roommate matching, co-living and subletting.Roommate-matching startups, Peters said, could easily work directly with landlords and bypass brokers.One company, Roomeze, which raised $2 million in seed funding in May and is operating in Brooklyn, charges a flat $200 to connect potential roommates and provide support services to them in connection with their rental.Meanwhile, RentHop uses an algorithm dubbed a HopScore to sort listings by quality — weeding out listings without photos or with unresponsive landlords — rather than solely by factors like price and posting date. And Joinery, which deems the rental broker “a much-reviled relic from a bygone era,” connects outgoing tenants with prospective incoming ones. When a lease is signed, the new tenant pays the old one a fee that is “typically two-thirds less than a standard broker fee.” The departing tenant gets a 5 percent fee, and Joinery receives a smaller one.Other companies are banking on the fact that the traditional one-year agreement will soon be a thing of the past.One of them is Flip, which serves as a marketplace for subletting, allowing users to find tenants to take over their leases or sublet the unit. And Leasebreak, which has been around for five-plus years, has a similar concept.   Peters — whose firm MetaProp announced a $40 million fund last month to back startups — said she is expecting a shift away from yearlong leases.Citi Habitats President Gary Malin acknowledged that technology is changing the playing field, but said “we are first and foremost in a hospitality-based business.”He said forming relationships with rental clients feeds future business. “Citi Habitats isn’t a rental company,” he said. “We’re a dynamic residential brokerage company.”Brokers argue that their value lies in deciphering the complicated market and guiding renters through logistics.Bond’s Douglas Wagner cited a young lawyer — who had just joined a firm and was making a starting salary of $180,000 — as a case in point. The client first searched for a no-fee apartment but ran into hurdles with the income and work-history requirements.“There were all these little nuances to making a deal with that landlord that kind of shut him out,” Wagner said.Still, he conceded that “most consumers don’t want to have a middleman” and “want to be able to self-serve.”Sweet or sourWhile the rental business may be in flux for brokers right now, for renters it’s undeniably sweet.In April, concessions in Manhattan rose to the third-highest percentage in the past seven and a half years. The share of new leases with concessions climbed to 44.3 percent, up from 28.6 percent the same time last year, according to a Douglas Elliman market report. The median rent in Manhattan rose in May, after five straight months of declines, but the data was skewed by increased demand, fueled by the soft sales market, for larger apartments.The trend isn’t new. Last year, the Moinian Group’s Sky complex was offering two to three months of free rent on new leases. The Durst Organization offered the same, as well as covering broker fees, at Via 57 West. The building is currently offering one month free, according to its website.The outer boroughs haven’t been immune, either.Brooklyn incentives cracked the 50 percent mark for the first time in April, while 65.1 percent of new deals in Northwest Queens included concessions.In May, Manhattan rental units were sitting on the market for an average of 29 days. While that’s down significantly from 44 days in May 2017, brokers’ fees have been eroding over time.Over the past few years, a fee of one month’s rent — or a little over 8 percent — has become increasingly standard. That’s down from the historic 12 or 15 percent, said Heiberger, who founded Citi Habitats and sold it to Realogy in 2004.Given how much rents have risen over time, a one-month fee today is much higher than it was a decade or two ago. But it’s still a smaller percentage from the past and “seems here to stay,” he said.Bond’s Wagner said his firm has been beefing up new systems to adapt, including basic things such as consolidating listings onto its website and allowing some things to be done online instead of in the office. But it may be an uphill battle.“I don’t think there will be a vibrant rental brokerage business in New York in the next five to 10 years,” Peters said. “I would be very nervous if I owned Citi Habitats right now.”last_img read more

Central volcanoes as sources for the Antarctic Peninsula Volcanic Group

first_imgFrom at least the Early Jurassic to the Miocene, eastward subduction of oceanic crust took place beneath the Antarctic Peninsula. Magmatism associated with the subduction generated a N-S linear belt of volcanic rocks known as the Antarctic Peninsula Volcanic Group (APVG), and which erosion has now exposed at about the plutonic/volcanic interface. Large central volcanoes from the APVG are described here for the first time. The structures are situated in north-west Palmer Land within the main Mesozoic magmatic arc. One centre, Zonda Towers, is recognized by the presence of a 160 m thick silicic ignimbrite, containing accidental lava blocks up to 25 m in diameter. This megabreccia is interpreted as a caldera-fill deposit which formed by land sliding of steep caldera walls during ignimbrite eruption and deposition. A larger centre, Mount Edgell-Wright Spires, is dominated by coarse-grained debris flow deposits and silicic ignimbrites which, with minor lavas and fine-grained tuffs, form a volcanic succession some 1.5 km thick. Basic intermediate and silicic sills c. 50 m thick intrude the succession. A central gabbro-granite intrusion is interpreted to be a high-level magma chamber of the Mount Edgell volcano.last_img read more

Regional variations in bio-optical properties of the surface waters in the Southern Ocean

first_imgValues of attenuation coefficient, Kd(λ), for five visible wavelengths are reported for 14 sites around South Georgia and the Bransfield Strait, in the Southern Ocean. The mean chlorophyll-plus-phaeopigment concentrations in the upper 30 m of the water column ranged from 0.32–6.633 mg m−3 with one particularly high mean value of 31 mg m−3. Partition of attenuation between chlorophyll (Kc) and other factors in the water column (Ko) indicated that the spectral character of Ko in the Bransfield Strait was consistent with absorption by non chlorophyll-like pigments (Gelbstoff). Values were significantly different between the two areas. Values of the specific attenuation coefficient due to pigment concentration (Kc) were small compared to temperate values. These data support other studies in suggesting that the application of remotely sensed ocean colour data to global biogeochemical surveys requires the development of regional algorithms.last_img read more

The relationship between foraging behaviour and energy expenditure in Antarctic fur seals

first_imgBy using time-depth recorders to measure diving activity and the doubly-labelled water method to determine energy expenditure, the relationship between foraging behaviour and energy expenditure was investigated in nine Antarctic fur seal females rearing pups. At-sea metabolic rate (MR) (mean of 6.34 ± 0.4 W. kg-1; 4.6 times predicted BMR) was positively correlated to foraging trip duration (mean of 4.21 ± 0.54 days; r2= 0.5, P < 0.04). There were no relationships between MR and the total number of dives, the total time spent diving or the total vertical distance travelled during the foraging trip. There was, however, a close negative sigmoidal relationship (r2= 0.93) between at-sea MR and the proportion of time at sea spent diving. This measure of diving behaviour may provide a useful, inexpensive means of estimating foraging energy expenditure in this species and possibly in other otariids. The rate of diving (m.h-1) was also negatively related to at-sea MR (r2= 0.69, P < 0.005). Body mass gain during a foraging trip had a positive relationship to the time spent at sea (r2= 0.58, P < 0.02) and the total amount of energy expended while at sea (r2= 0.72, P < 0.004) such that, while females undertaking long trips have higher metabolic rates, the energetic efficiency with which females gain mass is independent of the time spent at sea. Therefore, within the range of conditions observed, there is no apparent energetic advantage for females in undertaking foraging trips of any particular duration.last_img read more

The sedimentary record of the last glaciation in the western Bellingshausen Sea (West Antarctica): Implications for the interpretation of diamictons in a polar-marine setting

first_imgUpper Quaternary marine sediments recovered from the West Antarctic continental margin are characterized by a distinct lithological succession allowing the reconstruction of past environmental changes. Massive, homogenous diamictons were deposited elsewhere on the margin during the last glacial period, when grounded ice masses advanced across the shelf. Sedimentological investigations using a multi-proxy approach and examination of the margin topography suggest that during this time a deformation till and subsequently a glaciomarine till were deposited on the shelf, while glaciogenic debris flows were deposited on the slope and rise. The comparison of the clay mineral assemblages in the matrix of the diamictons with clay mineral assemblages of potential source areas reveals distinct pathways of grounded ice flow on the shelf. Lithogenic sandy muds overlying the diamictons were deposited by meltwater flows and/or marine currents on the shelf, and by turbidity currents and marine currents on the slope and rise, respectively. The sedimentation of the sandy muds denotes a deglaciation stage, when grounded ice started to retreat from the shelf, but semi-permanent sea-ice coverage still hampered biological productivity. Bioturbated, foraminifer-bearing sediments were deposited in a glaciomarine setting during the present interglacial period, when sea-ice cover was only seasonally present and a marine current related to the southern boundary of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current winnowed the seafloor on the outer shelf, slope and rise.last_img read more

Widespread persistent thickening of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet by freezing from the base

first_imgAn International Polar Year aerogeophysical investigation of the high interior of East Antarctica reveals widespread freeze-on that drives substantial mass redistribution at the bottom of the ice sheet. Although the surface accumulation of snow remains the primary mechanism for ice sheet growth, beneath Dome A, 24% of the base by area is frozen-on ice. In some places, up to half of the ice thickness has been added from below. These ice packages result from the conductive cooling of water ponded near the Gamburtsev Subglacial Mountain ridges and the supercooling of water forced up steep valley walls. Persistent freeze-on thickens the ice column, alters basal ice rheology and fabric, and upwarps the overlying ice sheet, including the oldest atmospheric climate archive, and drives flow behavior not captured in present models.last_img read more

Can we predict the duration of an interglacial?

first_imgDifferences in the duration of interglacials have long been apparent in palaeoclimate records of the Late and Middle Pleistocene. However, a systematic evaluation of such differences has been hampered by the lack of a metric that can be applied consistently through time and by difficulties in separating the local from the global component in various proxies. This, in turn, means that a theoretical framework with predictive power for interglacial duration has remained elusive. Here we propose that the interval between the terminal oscillation of the bipolar seesaw and three thousand years (kyr) before its first major reactivation provides an estimate that approximates the length of the sea-level highstand, a measure of interglacial duration. We apply this concept to interglacials of the last 800 kyr by using a recently-constructed record of interhemispheric variability. The onset of interglacials occurs within 2 kyr of the boreal summer insolation maximum/precession minimum and is consistent with the canonical view of Milankovitch forcing pacing the broad timing of interglacials. Glacial inception always takes place when obliquity is decreasing and never after the obliquity minimum. The phasing of precession and obliquity appears to influence the persistence of interglacial conditions over one or two insolation peaks, leading to shorter (~ 13 kyr) and longer (~ 28 kyr) interglacials. Glacial inception occurs approximately 10 kyr after peak interglacial conditions in temperature and CO2, representing a characteristic timescale of interglacial decline. Second-order differences in duration may be a function of stochasticity in the climate system, or small variations in background climate state and the magnitude of feedbacks and mechanisms contributing to glacial inception, and as such, difficult to predict. On the other hand, the broad duration of an interglacial may be determined by the phasing of astronomical parameters and the history of insolation, rather than the instantaneous forcing strength at inception.last_img read more

Analysis of stable isotope ratios in blood of tracked wandering albatrosses fails to distinguish a δ13C gradient within their winter foraging areas in the southwest Atlantic Ocean

first_imgRationale The main limitation of isotopic tracking for inferring distribution is the lack of detailed reference maps of the isotopic landscape (i.e. isoscapes) in the marine environment. Here, we attempt to map the marine δ13C isoscape for the southwestern sector of the Atlantic Ocean, and assess any temporal variation using the wandering albatross as a model species. Methods Tracking data and blood and diet samples were collected monthly from wandering albatrosses rearing chicks at Bird Island, South Georgia, during the austral winter between May and October 2009. The δ13C and δ15N values were measured by mass spectrometry in plasma and blood cells, and related to highly accurate data on individual movements and feeding activity obtained using three types of device: GPS, activity (immersion) loggers and stomach temperature probes. Results The tracked birds foraged in waters to the north or northwest of South Georgia, including the Patagonian shelf-break, as far as 2000 km from the colony. The foraging region encompassed the two main fronts in the Southern Ocean (Polar and Subantarctic fronts). The δ13C values varied by only 2.1 ‰ in plasma and 2.5 ‰ in blood cells, and no relationships were found between the δ13C values in plasma and the mean latitude or longitude of landings or feeding events of each individual. Conclusions The failure to distinguish a major biogeographic gradient in δ13C values suggest that these values in the south Atlantic Ocean are fairly homogeneous. There was no substantial variation among months in either the δ13C or the δ15N values of plasma or blood cells of tracked birds. As birds did not show a significant change in diet composition or foraging areas during the study period, these results provide no evidence for major temporal variation in stable isotope ratios in consumer tissues, or in the regional marine isoscape in the austral winter of 2009.last_img read more

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