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THE WORK STATION: WORK TALK - Brit `vigilantes' happier to moan.

Byline: Lydia Whitfield

BRITONS are more likely than ever to complain if they are unhappy with certain aspects of their lives, according to two new surveys.

The research shows people are now willing to make a nuisance of themselves if a restaurant meal is not up to scratch and feel confident taking a product back to a shop.

It has led a company behind one of the reports to invent a new breed of British complainer which it calls the ``consumer vigilante''.

Communications agency Publicis commissioned a survey which found 65 per cent of Britons are more likely to complain than they were three years ago.

Their report, entitled The New Assertiveness, found 39 per cent of those asked had taken something back to a shop, 32 per cent had hung up on a person trying to sell them a product or service, and 31 per cent had complained in writing.

Twenty-six per cent also said they have sent back a drink or a meal at a pub or restaurant.

In a separate survey, carried out for the Food and Drink Federation, nine out of 10 Britons said they would complain about a meal out, if, for instance, they were served under-cooked chicken.

However, the same poll found fewer people, 65 per cent, would complain if they were at a friend's dinner par t y.

The federation's survey was conducted to mark National Food Safety Week which ran this week.

Martin Paterson, Food and Drink Federation deputy director general, said: ``The British are famous for their reserve, but it's good to see that many consumers recognise that it's worth speaking up to avoid a dose of food poisoning.''

v Most council workers have considered leaving their jobs in the past year because they feel undervalued and poorly paid, a new survey revealed. Unison said its poll of 4,500 workers highlighted the recruitment ``crisis'' in local government, mainly because of low pay.

The survey was published as over a million council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland started voting on whether to strike in protest against a three per cent pay offer.

Union leaders have already pencilled in July 17 for a strike if there is a yes vote.

Almost seven out of 10 workers admitted they had considered leaving their current job, with many actively looking for a new post.

The main reasons included feeling undervalued, poorly paid, lack of promotion prospects and struggling with a lack of resources.

Almost one in three of those polled were working extra hours for no pay, while most of those questioned said their workload and pressure had increased over the past year.

vAlmost half of workers would be more likely to join an employer offering a car sharing scheme, according to a new survey.

Research for internet job site reed.co.uk found that only five per cent of people shared a car to get to work.

The poll of 3,000 people showed huge support for car-sharing schemes, as long as they were reliable and easy to use.

Reed said there could be 4.7 million fewer vehicles on the road if more workers were encouraged to share car journeys.

Workers were most likely to share cars in Wales, while the idea was least popular in the south of England.

Paul Rapacioli, director of reed.co.uk, said: ``An organised car-sharing scheme would be an extremely cheap way of tackling congestion while being environmentally friendly.''

v More heads think the quality of teachers applying for jobs has worsened rather than improved over the past year, a survey showed.

While 20 per cent of heads and deputies polled by Select Education Permanent said the applicants they had interviewed this year were of a higher calibre compared with those they saw 2001, 32 per cent believed they were inferior and 33 per cent saw no change. A sizeable proportion had difficulty finding the right person for the job - 43 per cent said they received three or less applications per post - including a fifth of those who were questioned, who said they got no replies at all.

Comments by headteachers who took part in the poll showed that many candidates were failing to follow the basic rules of applying for a job.

Some got the school's name wrong or spelled the headteacher's name incorrectly, while letters from other candidates were full of ``poor spelling, grammar and lack of punctuation'' or left out important details such as a contact number.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 16, 2002
Words:746
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