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M&S Wages to Increase Above Living Wage

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Marks & Spencer has announced it will increase its staff wages to above the current cost of living. The retailer has said it plans to pay its staff £9.65 per hour in Greater London and £8.50 per hour across the rest of the UK, taking its wages higher than the Living Wage. The wage increase is likely to take effect from April next year.

Last year ShareAction joined forces with the Craftivist Collective to coordinate a series of “stitch-ins” at branches of Marks & Spencer across the UK, for crafters to sew hand-made messages onto M&S handkerchiefs as bespoke gifts for board members and its largest shareholders, encouraging them to not ‘blow it’ but use their power for good governance and lead the way in the retail sector. These were delivered to the board during the company’s 2015 AGM, during which chairman Robert Swannell praised the action, saying: “This campaign was a test case for how these campaigns should be run.”

Catherine Howarth, ShareAction Chief Executive, said: “We are very pleased that the board of M&S has decided to step up and increase the rates it pays staff to above the independent Living Wage rates.

“Working on the M&S campaign, we’ve seen how much people adore the company, and want to see it do the right thing by the people it employs. We hope that the company will demonstrate real leadership in being an employer of choice, and look forward to hearing the results of the staff consultation on today’s proposed changes. 

“We’d like to see M&S take the next step, and formally accredit as a Living Wage employer, ensuring its workforce continues to be paid enough to meet the cost of living. Not only is this the right thing to do – it’s also what many investors want to see.”

Sarah Corbett, from the Craftivist Collective, said: “We are glad that it looks like Marks and Spencer will be threading their values through their much-loved company by paying their staff a living wage from April 2017.

“This is a decision that will be life-changing for many workers if implemented fully. We are keen to hear more about these plans at this year’s AGM, which we will be attending to congratulate the CEO and board members in person. We hope this announcement will inspire other companies to treat their staff with dignity and respect.” 

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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