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Thursday, November 21, 2013

200 million credit files: Yours is one of them

Surprisingly, 65% of adults have never checked their credit report, and 60% of those adults have never viewed their credit score. Your credit score says a lot about you, and it can impact some of the largest purchasing decisions in your life. www.quizzle.com has created an infographic exploring how your credit score can affect your financial picture.

It’s a fact: ignoring your credit score may cost you. It affects whether you are approved-or denied-a loan, helps protect against identity theft, and also determines your ability to buy a car, house, or insurance.

This infographic also details how a low credit score could cost you an extra $100,000 in interest when paying for a home.

Ignoring your credit report can also leave you unaware of mistakes that could drop you into a lower credit score bracket. In fact, a Federal Trade Commission study in 2012 found that 25% of consumers found errors on their credit report. 20% had an error corrected by filing a dispute. 80% of those individuals that filed a dispute saw a modification to their reports, 10% found a change in their credit score, and 5% had a score increase of up to 25 points.

The big three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, have at least 200 million credit files. If 1% of these consumers had a score change of 25 points, 2 million consumers would benefit from paying less on their loans and interest.

Feel free to like, share, and comment on this infographic entitled “200 Million Credit Files: Yours is One of Them” from www.quizzle.com!

200 million credit files: Yours is one of them (INFOGRAPHIC) - An Infographic from Quizzle Wire
Fixing a credit reporting error may boost your individual credit score
Embedded from Quizzle Wire

Top UK brand supplier breaks employment laws in China as workers live and work in damming conditions

Some companies exploit Chinese workers with excessive work hours
Chinese employment law violations exploit workers
It has recently come to light that Dell's suppliers in China are currently exploiting employees of many ages and backgrounds by giving them little choice but to work up to 74 hours a week. 

Also, underage employees are being hired to carry out the work too, some being classed a ‘interns’; another way of paying even less, according to a new report and undercover video captured by Dan Watch and China Labor Watch.

Report findings

The director of DanWatch, Eva Lundström stated, "Our findings show that the workers are forced to work overtime to survive even though the ILO conventions and Chinese labour law state that the minimum wage should be set at a level sufficient to cover the basic daily needs of workers. The video evidence retrieved from inside the factory shows just how bad the conditions really are inside the factory and in the living quarters. The employees were filmed at two different factories; Guangdong and Jiangsu, uncovering the amount of overtime a month that employees would endure (between 52 and 136 hours), but in the peak seasons, employees were working frequently 7 days a week. Some workers are under the age of 18, which breaks even the Chinese employment law.

Living and working conditions for workers

The employees at the factory, with the majority of them being young students, live in dormitories that are on-site. The living conditions for workers are bad; there is just one toilet per 55 employees and shockingly, one shower room per 90 workers. There is a lack of hot water for washing and showering, leaving many staff living in nothing short of squalor.

If employees are looking to earn Chinese minimum wage levels, then they are forced to work overtime due to the severe under paying for their labour.  As most have no choice but to work overtime, most of the workers have to stand up for 12 hours as their jobs require them to stand even though there are a few chairs hanging about. Workers also get very short meal breaks; as soon as a worker has eaten, they’re off back on the ‘production’ line again.

Lack of correct equipment

There are also protection issues from the likes of fumes that can be overwhelming at times on the production line. The lack of proper equipment could cause many people long term health conditions. Reports also illustrate the workers experiencing psychological and verbal abuse; apparently, this type of working environment and code of practice is against Dell's ‘code of conduct’. Dell is also a member of the ‘standards’ of the Electronic Industry Citizen Coalition (EICC).

Other protests at the Foxconn factories

There was an investigation into the factory conditions after Foxconn, a supplier for Apple, Dell, Sony, HP, Nintendo and many more, were accused of breaking local labour laws in China. In order to bring this to light, the workers in the factory staged a mass protest in which they threatened to commit suicide because of the retched working conditions.

In 2010, 18 workers decided to jump from the roof of the factory as a suicide pact with 14 unfortunately dying. This suicide jump was due to the same reason; horrible working and living conditions. Dell’s response to the ‘situation’ suggested that they were looking into it by carrying out three audits. However, Dell and the other companies mentioned must have known about the conditions, as 14 people committed suicide in 2010 and there are approximately 24000 workers per month that quit their job in the Foxconn factories. The very high turnover and the suicides alone without doubt, suggest that there’s something very wrong with the working conditions.

The latest protest was carried out at the beginning of 2013, January 2, due to managers moving roughly 600 workers in the FoxConn factories to a new production line; workers forced to make computer cases for Acer. One of the workers stated "We were put to work without any training, and paid piecemeal. The assembly line ran very fast and after just one morning we all had blisters and the skin on our hand was black. The factory was also really choked with dust and no one could bear it”.

In response to the statement made by the worker, a spokesman for the Foxconn factories stated that “the protest was successfully and peacefully resolved after discussions between the workers, local Foxconn officials and representatives from the local government". This confirmed the protest carried out earlier this year.

The employment law has undoubtedly been broken in more ways than one and a thourough investigation is needed into the way that workers are treated; even though this has happened in China, Dell and the others who use Foxconn as their supplier should ensure that working conditions for employees are up to standard.

About the author: Sandra, the author of this article has worked in the law industry for several years and specialises in employment law and practices.

Image license: 1. Robert S. Donovan, CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Business training courses that your staff will actually enjoy

By Chris Mayhew

Business training courses are often just an excuse to get out of the office for many people and rarely actually offer something tangible that can be taken away and used to increase their ability to do their jobs. However, when you do find the right course that is both enjoyable and enriching, it can really benefit your business and the staff who work within it.

There are many different areas in which training can be given, but here are a few examples of those that your employees will find insightful and entertaining.

Business Training
Employees develop skills via business training courses

Leadership training

Not everybody in the business world is a born leader but sometimes their job role may call for them to take on responsibilities that require them to look after a small team. This can be difficult for shyer, more withdrawn, employees and so they may benefit from leadership training.

The course will teach any participant how to get the most out of the people they are leading, the best way to lead a group of people to success and what the difference between leading and managing is. They are sure to enjoy getting to grips with a new skill and it will increase the responsibilities they can undertake within their job.

Customer service

Most people that are new to customer service will wonder how hard it can be to interact with the public, but anyone who has done a job in the industry for any length of time will know there is an art to it. The main skills that you will learn from a customer service training course will include dealing with complaints, ensuring that customers return time and time again and how to adapt your language to suit certain situations.

These training days are often full of fun role playing scenarios and will help any employee improve the service they provide and their ability to earn tips (something they will all be interested in doing).

Creativity training

Creativity is a valuable attribute in many different areas of business and the truth is that everybody has the capability to be creative if they want to be. Creativity is what keeps a company ahead of its competition and helps them to continually produce new, ground-breaking products and services; a need that every business surely has.

Training of this kind can teach staff to unlock the creative areas of their brain, conceive ideas and develop them through collaboration with others and stage effective brainstorming sessions. The courses are fun and filled with plenty of exercise that will get them thinking about the many ways in which they can be creative. The things that they learn will also help them to get more fulfilment from their job role.

Team building

When you think of the typical corporate away day in which staff practise team building exercises, groups of people struggling to fit on smaller and smaller gym mats in the middle of an echoic community hall often come to mind, but it doesn’t have to be like that. Employees are likely to get much more from the experience if the training is a lot more original and the perfect team building day can be an excellent combination of fun and vital learning.

Teams rarely get the chance to interact in this way during work time and the stresses of the job can often mean that they don’t communicate efficiently. However, bonding during one of these training days will hopefully bring cohesion and solidarity to your workforce. 

About the author: Chris Mayhew has been on business training courses in the past that have been less than successful but knows the value of interesting and informative ones. He would recommend creative training for businesses from Now Go Create to anyone wanting to improve the innovation of their employees.

What determines my car insurance rate?

When you purchase car insurance, you are agreeing to a set of rules and regulations as set out by the insurer you choose to go with. Insurance companies use these rules to determine their rates and by understanding what determines those rates it might help you to find ways to reduce your premium. Another reason to educate yourself in this manner is because it will allow you to shop around for the best and fairest policies on the market. 
Insurance companies have, in the past been known to use factors like gender and age to determine rates. Some experts and critics argue that this is a necessary evil as valid statistics have shown that these factors do accurately portray risk. However these factors can no longer legally be used as a determination of rates due to a 2011 European Court of Justice ruling. This stated that under the EU Gender Directive insurers could not consider gender when calculating insurance premium rates.

This infographic covers the area where perhaps you can achieve some headway in reducing your premium by outlining all the factors that come into play in premium calculation. Some of these factors can appear simplistic but even small amendments can affect a premium calculation. Apart from better understanding about how car insurance premiums are calculated, this info-graphic explains the factors which determine the car insurance rates.

The infographic highlights some interesting facts about penalty points in Ireland, speed statistics worldwide, car ownership in Ireland and the cost of insuring high powered and luxury cars. Finally the infographic also has a helpful section which gives some tips on how best to attempt to reduce your car insurance premium. Knowing these factors will help you in your quest to get the best value for money in terms of your car insurance while also crucially staying informed as to what exactly you are covered for.

Infographic: What determines your car insurance rate
Source: Zurich Insurance plc
Vehicle location influences the cost of auto insurance