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More people in region prefer to work from home

More of us are choosing to work from home. According to the latest figures almost 700,000 people in the South / South East now take the opportunity to take a short walk from the bedroom to the office. That's about 16 per cent of the working population.

This week is Work from Home Week, and our bosses are being encouraged to think about the benefits of offering staff a better work life balance. Amy Lea reports.

More than half of parents rely on school breakfast clubs

One in five working parents admit they never sit down and have breakfast with their children. That's just one of the findings in a survey of more than 2,000 people into the effects of our increasingly pressurised lifestyles.

Many schools are finding increased demand for their breakfast clubs where mums and dads can drop their children off before school and still be confident they're getting a healthy start to the day.

Wesley Smith reports:

  • 60% said that their child's school breakfast club was very important for their day-to-day life
  • Over half (58%) said that the breakfast clubs enabled their children to have breakfast in the morning without being rushed
  • Over a third (33%) stated that they or their partner would have to give up work if it were not for the school breakfast club
  • Almost a third (28%) said that the breakfast clubs saved them on average between £10 - £25 per week

Our reporter, Wesley Smith, has interviewed: Theresa Pooley, Mother Minara Begum, Mother Simone Roberts-Lawlor, Mother Oli Burton, Organiser

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We'll call off cleaners' strike - if GWR ends two tier workforce, says rail union

Credit: ITV News Meridian

The RMT rail union has announced it will suspend strike action by cleaners on Great Western Railway (GWR) if the workers' contracts are improved.

The pending strike action is over claims of serious bullying, discrimination and poverty working conditions on GWR's cleaning contract operated by Servest UK.

The union is calling for agency workers to be made members of GWR staff to end its two tier workforce. It says GWR and Servest UK must commit to giving the workers a fair contract at today's meeting.

The union says a key demand is for basic sick pay in line with GWR staff. It claims the current situation has forced many of the cleaners into debt with two thirds owing money to payday loan companies in the past year as a result of falling sick.

The strike is due to take place between 5.59am on Thursday 19th January and 05.58am on Saturday 21st January.

GWR has a golden opportunity today to end this dispute and stop hiding behind its sub-contractor and avoiding proper responsibilities to the workers who clean their trains.

If today’s meeting between GWR and Servest results in GWR committing to making the necessary changes to its cleaning contract, for a fair settlement for our cleaner members, then we will call off our strike.

If no commitment is forthcoming then we will be left without a choice but to go ahead with the action. Recent strike action by RMT Cleaner members on GWR was rock solid and we expect the same this week.

RMT’s cleaner members on GWR will not stand by while they are mercilessly exploited by privateers, while rail companies fill their coffers as fares soar through the roof.”

– Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary

Gatwick Airport growth could support 13,000 new jobs

Credit: ITV Meridian

Growth at Gatwick Airport could support more than 13,000 new jobs according to a new report commissioned by the airport.

The report by Oxford Economics suggests the additional roles would be in place by 2025.

It also found the airport could contribute an extra £6.5 billion to the UK's economy.

In 2016, the airport contributed £5.3 billion to the economy and supported 85,000 jobs.

The report is the most detailed assessment of Gatwick's economic impact ever undertaken.

Travel costs curbed to support jobseekers

A travel scheme has been set up to help jobseekers Credit: ITV news

Isle of Wight Council has launched an initiative to support jobseekers travelling to interviews and jobs.

The sustainable travel support scheme will provide travel advice and training for active jobseekers on the Island, and offer support with the cost.

It will play a huge role in boosting economic growth by helping people to access employment and training opportunities that they would have previously avoided due to the costs involved with travelling.

– Councillor Paul Fuller

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New jobs created in water industry

Sixty five jobs have been created in Dorset with the launch of a new national customer service centre.

Bournemouth Water Business (BWB) is a new, dedicated hub for non-household customers across Dorset and the New Forest.

It is one of four brands under the Pennon Water Services (PWS) umbrella which was launched by Pennon Group plc in readiness for the opening of the water market in 2017.

Train drivers were 'so tired' they passed signals at danger

Two train drivers were so tired - or "so fatigued" - that they passed signals at danger, at a junction to the west of Reading Station.

The Rail Accident Investigation Branch said both incidents happened because the drivers had not had enough sleep and, therefore, were unable to properly control the trains.

This was, in part, due to the rest facilities at Acton not being 'fit for purpose', and because the drivers were nearing the end of a long night shift.

Train signs at red Credit: PA Images

The first incident happened at 0822 on 28th March 2015, when a freight train running from Acton to Westbury, operated by DB Schenker Rail (UK), passed a signal at danger at Reading Westbury Line Junction.

A similar incident occurred at 06:11 hrs on 3 November 2015 when another freight train, forming the same service from Acton to Westbury, and operated by the same company, passed a signal at danger at Ruscombe Junction, about seven miles east of Reading.

RAIB began an investigation into both of these incidents following the latter event at Ruscombe Junction, owing to the similarities between them.

"Both incidents occurred because the train drivers involved were too fatigued to properly control their trains; both drivers stated that they momentarily fell asleep on the approach to the signals concerned.

"Neither driver reported as unfit for duty, which was also causal to the incidents. The investigation identified underlying factors associated with supervision and management at the drivers’ home depot in Westbury, and with the general approach to the management of fatigue within the company."

– Rail Accident Investigation Branch

As a result of this investigation, RAIB has made three recommendations covering shift planning at Westbury depot, managing people who may be suffering from tiredness, or identifying them, and look at the risk of fatigue.

RAIB has also identified two learning points concerning the importance of preparing for duty and reporting fatigue, and the role of napping (and facilities for such) within a fatigue risk management system.

Simon French, Chief Inspector of Rail Accidents said: "An admission of tiredness should not be seen as a weakness - it may be the unavoidable consequence of the work and home demands placed on a driver.

"This report has highlighted the ‘real-world’ experience of freight train drivers. By necessity, many freight trains must operate at night and many drivers are required to work long and irregular shifts, often during night hours.

"This means that drivers must accommodate their sleep, home responsibilities, social life and commuting in the hours that remain – and this can be a challenge. For this reason I urge freight operating companies, their employees and trade unions to work together to find practical ways of reducing fatigue at work."

Police force praised for its workplace diversity

The force has been recognised for its continued dedication to workplace diversity Credit: Surrey Police

Surrey Police has been ranked as one of the top police forces nationwide for workplace diversity.

The ranking makes it the fourth highest force in The Excellence in Diversity Awards: Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers list.

The list investigates whether organisations have representation at management, senior, executive and board level, from across all strands of diversity including age, disability, gender, LGBT, race, faith & religion. Surrey Police's Association of Culture and Ethnicity provides a mentoring scheme for applicants from these diverse communities, guiding them through the recruitment process.

We are extremely proud to have been awarded this position in the Inclusive Top 50 UK Employers. This ranking shows our dedication to creating a diverse workforce and we will continue to work towards maintaining an inclusive organisation that is reflective of the communities we serve.”

– Gavin Stephens, Temporary Deputy Chief Constable, Surrey Police

Overall, Surrey Police ranked #28 out of all organisations in the list, which included British Airways, Ministry of Justice and ASDA.

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