Month: July 2019

The government department responsible for running

first_imgThe government department responsible for running the Disability Confident employment scheme has admitted failing to keep track of how many complaints of disability discrimination are made by its own staff.The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) repeatedly brags about its much-criticised scheme, which aims to help employers recruit and retain disabled employees, and it claims itself to be a Disability Confident “Leader”, the highest of the scheme’s three levels.But last month Disability News Service (DNS) reported how the Employment Tribunal had dealt with almost 60 claims of disability discrimination taken against DWP by its own staff over a 20-month period.Now a freedom of information response to DNS from the department has revealed that it has been failing to track how many complaints by staff through its internal grievance system are based on allegations of disability discrimination.It says in the response: “DWP’s central [human resources] system records the number of grievances made by DWP employees each year; however it does not record disability discrimination as a discrete category of grievance.”It says in the response that it “treats complaints of Disability Discrimination very seriously and would always rigorously investigate such a complaint”.But Dr Minh Alexander, a former consultant psychiatrist and NHS whistleblower whose research led to the DWP tribunal figures, said the failure to track disability-related grievances showed “incompetence and disinterest”.She said: “If DWP don’t track disability-related grievances, they can’t know if a greater proportion of disabled employees are filing grievances, and therefore potentially experiencing worse treatment. Not so Disability Confident!!”And David Gillon, a prominent disabled critic of the Disability Confident scheme, said it was “extraordinary that DWP does not keep systematic track of internal disability discrimination”.He said: “This would be unbelievably lackadaisical in a small or medium-sized company; it is difficult to comprehend in an organisation the size of DWP that is not just a Disability Confident Leader, but the organisation that defines Disability Confident.“The failure to track this information demonstrates a comprehensive failure to follow DWP’s obligations under Disability Confident for both employee retention and ongoing improvement.“If DWP is not gathering this information, and therefore is clearly not compliant with its Disability Confident Leader certification, then shouldn’t DWP’s certification be withdrawn?”But he also pointed out that there was no mechanism within the flawed Disability Confident scheme to assess whether a Disability Confident organisation was meeting its membership obligations.The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) suggested that DWP should have been monitoring how many disability-related grievances it was dealing with.An EHRC spokeswoman said: “Appropriate data collection is essential in uncovering and understanding discrepancies in any workplace.“Whilst collecting data on disability discrimination cases specifically is not a requirement of the [Equality Act’s] public sector equality duty, it would be a beneficial way of monitoring how an organisation is performing against its obligations.”A DWP spokeswoman said the department takes “active steps to promote equality” and that the complaints system – provided by a third party – had now been “updated to capture categories of grievances”, a step apparently taken in the days after the freedom of information response was sent to DNS on 22 November.According to information provided to DNS by the department, DWP has also altered its policies only this year to ensure that employees found to have bullied, harassed or discriminated against a colleague are dealt with under its disciplinary procedures.It is due to make further changes next month to make it easier for employees to report such behaviour and to make anonymous reporting easier.Meanwhile, Sarah Newton, the minister for disabled people, has launched a new voluntary framework that aims to encourage employers to report how many of their staff consider themselves to be disabled or to have a long-term physical or mental health condition.It came as she hosted a roundtable at Downing Street with businesses such as Barclays, Channel 4 and KPMG, and disabled employees, to discuss “what more companies can do to build inclusive workforces”. A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

Shop local disrupted Valencia Cyclery

first_imgPO: It’s changed a lot. Because we’re now a very mature business we have plateaued and the bicycle business in general has been affected nationwide. We’re not exactly sure why..…in part it is because of what is going on with sales. The brick and mortar stores are not doing as well.A reflection of that is just down the street we have another competitor and last winter he went out of business or at least closed the store here.ML: What do you like about the business?PO: Truthfully, I very much enjoy helping people. What got me involved in retail and keeps me in retail. I enjoy the contact with customers, especially our clientele. We do a lot of business with entry-level cyclists, kids and a broad range of people. And granted we do a fair amount of business and especially repair work with experienced cyclists. But I also enjoy working with the average Joe who just wants to get out there to exercise or commute.I also very much enjoy the type of employee who works in a bike shop. I can relate to those guys even though all of them are younger than me. It is a good group of people to work with.ML: What’s difficult?PO: It is the challenge of all retailers and especially lately with the internet things like Yelp and all, it is really sad to get bad reviews. It is not that we don’t deserve bad reviews, sometimes maybe we do or maybe we could have done a better job, but it’s like we get some customers who frankly no one can make them happy and it’s kind of a platform for them, for one person to spoil the whole barrel.All in all we do great and we have a lot of happy customers.We’ve been known to sweep all the awards that are out there for bike shops, so we’re doing a good job. I think, of course any business could do better, but we pride ourselves on doing a good job.ML: Other challenges?PO: This internet thing is weird. It’s like a whole different way of doing business and I think a lot of brick and mortar stores are learning how to handle it.One example – customers will buy parts over the internet and then ask us to install them. How do we handle that? It would be like going to your auto parts store and saying I want a tune up on my car, but I am going to bring my own parts. And then the mechanic says well these spark plugs don’t fit and the customer says, well, keep my car there while I go get some other spark plugsIt makes things complicated. Things were a lot simpler before.We charge a certain amount for labor, we have our price for the part and if the parts is defective or a problem or doesn’t fit we will take care of that because we’ve made a little money on it. But now we are asked to do a lot of work that we don’t make money on. It is the dilemma of brick and mortar stores everywhere.ML: What’s on your mind now?PO: Well actually, we own the two buildings the repair and the sales showroom and it is a big concern if not this winter or the next winter we have to do seismic upgrades and that is a big challenge. It is not only how to do it but how do we coordinate and keep our business going. I’m working on it now.ML: Any plans to retire?PO: That hasn’t crossed my mind; as long as I enjoy the business I will do it. It’s not something I’m planningCertainly there are a lot of headaches a lot of responsibility but in some ways some freedoms that you wouldn’t have otherwise.Next up: The Local Grocery StoreEarlier:SF Art Store Struggles Against E-CommerceSF’s Shop local ethic disrupted by click-here convenience Tags: bikes Share this: FacebookTwitterRedditemail,0% We talked to Paul Olszewski, 64, owner and general manger of Valencia Cyclery in the Mission since June 1, 1985, about his business and it didn’t take long for the topic of the internet’s impact to come up.ML: Why the bicycle business?PO: I’ve always enjoyed bikes – ever since I got one when I was a teenager and started riding a lot. Working on bikes was something that I did through college years to pay the bills to go to school and eventually had the opportunity to start my own shop.ML: How has the business changed?center_img 0%last_img read more

SAINTS frontrower Alex Walmsley has said that the

first_imgSAINTS front-rower Alex Walmsley has said that the team are raring to go to right the wrongs of their 2015 World Club Challenge defeat to the Sydney Rabbitohs.He will be part of the side that faces Sydney Roosters next Friday February 19 at Langtree Park – in front of what is set to be a large crowd.“We were bitterly disappointed with the performance last year,” he said. “We didn’t do ourselves or the competition any justice.“The way we lost… a few of the boys want to right some wrongs this time out. We didn’t show the talent Super League has and how good we are as a league.“It is important we do well in that game – and we want to head into the match full of hunger.“We cannot wait for the challenge.”World Club Series tickets are now on General Sale.They are priced at:Hattons Solicitors West Terrace, East Terrace and Family Stands:Adult – £22.50, OAP and Young Adult – £15.50, Junior – £10Solarking South and Totally Wicked North Stands:Gold: Adult – £30, OAP and Young Adult – £22.50, Junior – £12Silver: Adult – £28, OAP and Young Adult – £20.50, Junior – £12Bronze: Adult – £25, OAP and Young Adult – £18.50, Junior – £10Tickets can be bought by popping into the Ticket Office at Langtree Park, by calling 01744 455 052 or online here.last_img read more

CFPUA Chemours needs to stop discharging compounds utility cant filter from water

first_imgWeek 1531640 WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority says Chemours needs to stop two newly discharging newly discovered compounds into the Cape Fear River and that state regulators need to do everything they can to make it happen.CFPUA was informed by the NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that scientists from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been working to identify other per-fluorinated compounds in the Cape Fear River discovered in a November 2016 report by North Carolina State University.- Advertisement – DEQ announced Wednesday that the scientists have been able to identify and test for five of these compounds.The preliminary report provides the results for samples taken from Chemours’ Outfall 002 and finished water from Sweeney Water Treatment Plant over a six-week time period. The results show that the levels of three of these compounds decreased as levels of GenX decreased. Levels of two other compounds, known as Nafion byproducts 1 and 2, did not decrease. A chart of the results from the finished water at Sweeney Water Treatment Plant for these two compounds is below: Week 3N/AN/A DateNafion Byproduct 1 (ppt)Nafion Byproduct 2 (ppt) Week 6724670center_img Week 41202360 Week 51587860 Week 21434320 DHHS informed CFPUA that, after consulting with EPA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they are unable to establish a health goal for Nafion at this time, due to the fact that no health studies on the effects of Nafion could be identified. However, after reviewing the results, DHHS reiterated their guidance that the public can continue to drink the water.Related Article: Castle Hayne site removed from Superfund list“Chemours was made aware of these sampling results on Tuesday, Aug. 29. In response, we are now investigating the potential that these two substances are byproducts of the IXM production unit at Chemours Fayetteville manufacturing site,” the company said in a statement e-mailed to WWAY. “We are working with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to understand their data and gain additional clarity regarding these samples. As we gather this additional information, we are also working to determine the appropriate next steps.”Chemours says Nafion is actually a brand name for its membrane products. “The accurate reference is to ‘byproducts of the IXM (Ion Exchange Materials) production unit,’” the company told WWAY.Given that, based upon the available data, Sweeney Water Treatment Plant is unable to effectively remove these compounds from the water, CFPUA says it believes Chemours needs to immediately stop all discharge of the compounds to the river until sufficient data can be collected to set a health goal. DEQ has the authority to prohibit further discharge of Nafion byproducts, and CFPUA says it has asked DEQ to exercise that authority immediately and without delay.In response to the presence of the compound GenX, CFPUA says it has already begun several processes that they believe will apply to these new compounds as well. Staff at the Sweeney Water Treatment Plant has been conducting a pilot test of Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) and Ion Exchange (IX) technologies that have the potential to be effective in removing per-fluorinated compounds such as GenX and the newly discovered compounds. As soon as the pilot test begins to produce results, CFPUA will make that information public.Earlier this week, CFPUA entered into a contract with University of North Carolina Wilmington to continue investigating other compounds in the Cape Fear River. Thursday’s findings highlight the importance of this effort.  We believe this study will produce results valuable to regulatory agencies at the state and federal levels as they continue to investigate whether additional regulatory action is required in the Cape Fear River Basin.CFPUA says it is considering all legal actions. On August 3, CFPUA’s environmental counsel filed a Notice of Intent informing Chemours and Dupont of a citizens suit CFPUA intends to bring against them for violation of the Clean Water Act.CFPUA says it believes NCDEQ has an obligation to take decisive action. It has asked DEQ to revoke or modify Chemours’ NPDES permit.last_img read more

State of the University Address hosted at UNCW

first_img Three major topics discussed that need to be worked on, economic mobility, accountability, and the role of fostering civic discourse.Spellings said North Carolina is one of seven states that does not have a set of educational attainment goals.That is something she is working to change with an effort called ‘My Future NC.’Related Article: ‘Prepare to be eviscerated’: McCrory to teach politics at UNC Chapel Hill“It’s an effort for us to really think about our system broadly from Pre-K through the workforce. And make some connections, eliminate the friction, so that our students can get in and get out. And they can do it conveniently and affordably,” Spellings said.During the address, Spellings also highlighted UNCW’s great reputation for graduation and recruitment rates among transfer students. An accomplishment UNCW’s Chancellor Zito Sartarelli has been working on. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Education, progress, and success were just some of the topics discussed at the State of the University Address Tour at UNCW Wednesday afternoon.Dozens filled the Lumina Theater as the University of North Carolina System President Margaret Spellings went over her efforts to strengthen the university system across our state.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Brunswick County man charged with child sex crimes

first_img According to the arrest warrant, the alleged crimes happened between May 15 and June 15 of this year.Daniels was arrested Monday.Daniels is being held in the Brunswick County Detention Center under a $500,000 bond. BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A Brunswick County man is accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.Jonathan Ricardo Daniels, 34, is charged with statutory rape of a child under 15 and statutory sex offense with a child under 15.- Advertisement – last_img

River Watch screens film about C8 GenX contamination

first_img It goes through the lawsuits and the backstories of the C8 fallout in West Virginia. It even using the same footage from Wilbur Tennant as we showed you last summer.“People seem to be getting involved,” said Kathryn Coppel who recently moved to Wilmington from New Jersey. She followed the fallout in Parkersburg.“I suppose people in some ways are learning from what happened in West Virginia and they don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Copple.Related Article: EPA outlines plan for dealing with toxic chemicals in waterThe film used multiple deposition interviews that took place during the lawsuits towards DuPont. Those cases resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement to West Virginia’s that lived along the Ohio River. It also lead to several studies for PFOA and PFOS chemical compounds that are byproduct wastes of Teflon material manufacturing. Those studies then carried into a Department of Health and Human Services report that found large forms of contamination of C8 possibly lead to higher cancer levels in people.River Watch hopes showing this film will bring a broader community response to GenX.“This film hopefully, and unfortunately will scare people. It should scare people,” said Dana Sargent with the River Watch. “And I hope that it helps people to understand the significance of this issue and maybe take some action.”This screening comes nearly a month after the EPA came to Fayetteville to talk about chemicals like GenX in drinking water. The film itself shows that company scientists knew about chemicals like GenX and C8 decades ago.The film concludes where our story begins addressing the GenX contamination discovered in the Cape Fear River. The film says no representatives of DuPont or Chemours would take part in the production. We did hear from the company who sent us this statement:We continue to make extraordinary progress on emissions reductions at our Fayetteville Works site. Chemours is now poised to address air and other emissions in an industry-leading manner for environmental protection. We’ve already seen a 40% reduction in air emissions just since the beginning of the year. In consultation with the NCDEQ, Chemours is working to install additional state-of-the-art technologies, including a thermal oxidizer, which collectively are expected to eliminate 99% of all air emissions of C3 Dimer Acid and other substances known as PFAS compounds by December 31, 2019. WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –  When we first heard of GenX we knew very little. WWAY then went to West Virginia to show you a similar contamination that impacted the Parkersburg community. A film aired in Wilmington this evening about that same case.The film ‘The Devil We Know’ aired at Thalian Hall this evening sponsored by Cape Fear River Watch. The film was first seen at the Sundance film festival where the nonprofit worked with the film producers to bring it here.- Advertisement – last_img read more

Investigators followed money in tainted North Carolina election

first_img The operative was charged last month for similar activities in 2016 and for his work for Harris in the 2018 primary.The election last month was declared tainted and another ordered.Harris isn’t running again. Ten others are seeking the Republican nomination in May’s primary election. Democrat Dan McCready faces no primary opponent. RALEIGH, NC (AP) — Top North Carolina elections officials say the ballot-rigging investigation that voided a congressional election and forced one of the country’s few do-over races simply followed the money.State elections attorney Josh Lawson said Tuesday during a discussion at Davidson College that investigators weren’t targeting Republican Mark Harris‘ campaign in the 9th Congressional District. Lawson says investigators followed tips that a political operative in rural Bladen County was illegally collecting ballots and then found that Harris’ consultant was paying him.- Advertisement – last_img read more

ICANN resumes internet numbering responsibility

first_imgAdvertisement ICANN will continue coordinating the Internet Protocol address spaces (IPv4 and IPv6), assigning address blocks to regional Internet registries, maintaining registries of Internet protocol identifiers, and managing the top-level domain name space (DNS root zone).The award of the contract has not been without controversy. In March this year, NTIA cancelled the request for proposal (RFP) process, stating that none of the proposals it had received, including ICANN’s, met the requirements requested by the global community. It told ICANN to come back with a better response and granted ICANN permission to continue to carry out IANA functions until then.The cancellation was greeted with disbelief. Some speculated that it could be related to attempts by the International Telecommunication Union’s attempt to take over internet governance, or ICANN’s plan to plan to open the global top level domain space to almost any string of characters, which had attracted criticism from the NTIA. – Advertisement – NTIA restarted the cancelled RFP process in April, during which others were welcomed to tender in what ICANN has said was an open, competitive bid. ICANN provided NTIA with a new proposal, which it said clarified and elaborated on its previous submission.The contract came the day after ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom announced on the ICANN blog that he would be replaced by the organisation’s chief operating officer of two years, Akram Atallah. Source: zdnet.comlast_img read more

Facebook testing Buy Tickets Buttons for events

first_imgAdvertisement According to Facebook is testing different buttons allowing users to buy tickets to events, but the actual transactions take place off the social network, as clicking on the buttons take users to third-party websites. A peek at the source code reveals that the “Buy Tickets” link is a dedicated field created by FacebookThe screenshot below was taken by Blink vice president of media Eti Suruzon. Blink is an Israel-based social media agency. – Advertisement –  The links, however, only seem to be present on events located in Israel, suggesting that Facebook is testing the new functionality locally.Given the above, Facebook is indeed testing the ability for users to link directly to ticket purchasing sites. But, what’s perhaps significantly more interesting is the dedicated “Buy Tickets” button, which leads us to believe that Facebook could eventually integrate ticket purchasing much more deeply.Considering that Facebook has payments processing in place and could integrate ticketing with Facebook Gifts, it’s clear that the social giant could leave quite an impact on the events space…if it chose to do so.Remember, it wouldn’t be the first time a company sought to integrate ticket purchasing directly into Facebook. Additional reporting from The Next Web and AllFacebook.comlast_img read more