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COUNCILLOR CALLS ON TRAIN OPERATORS TO GET ROUND THE TABLE AND HEAR DIRECTLY FROM PASSENGERS

Annandale North ward Councillor Adam Wilson has called on train operators Transpennine and Avanti to get round the table and hear concerns directly from affected passengers.

 

The call comes as a meeting of the South West Scotland Transport Partnership (SWESTRANS) on Friday 13th December agreed to re-establish the Lockerbie Station Liaison Group. The Liaison Group last met in 2014. The re-establishment of the Group will provide an opportunity for passengers to get around the table with Scot Rail who manage Lockerbie Train Station, Frist Transpennine Express and the West coast mainline franchisee, Avanti West Coast.

The re-establishment of the Group comes as passengers have been faced with frequent delays and cancellations on services from Lockerbie Train Station. The website, On Time Trains, has ranked Lockerbie Train Station as 2,619th out of the 2,621 train stations in the whole of the UK.

 

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Councillor Adam Wilson, whose Annandale North ward covers Lockerbie Train Station said, “Passengers from Lockerbie Train Station are being failed by train operators whose services are now plagued with cancellations and delays. At the weekend 41% of services from the station were cancelled on Saturday causing havoc and on a daily basis passengers can expect a handful of services to be cancelled.

I, and passengers from Lockerbie, have no confidence in the train operators serving Lockerbie. That is why they must accept the invitation and get round the table as part in the Lockerbie Station Liaison Group to listen to directly from passengers who are affected by cancellations and delays every single day.

The strategic importance of Lockerbie Train Station to our region can not be understated. It is a scandal that the UK Government, Scot Rail and train operators have neglected services and allowed it to be ranked in the bottom 3 of all train stations in the UK. Urgent action must be taken to get services back on track, and I look forward to the Lockerbie Station Liaison Group holding train operators to account.”

SCC Comment on General Election

Commenting on the results of the UK General Election, Dr Liz Cameron OBE, Director & Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:

 

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“The Scottish Chambers of Commerce extends our congratulations to the Conservative Party for winning the election. Now the campaigning is done, the real work of government must begin and accelerate.
 
“For too long the needs of businesses and the economy have been left on the back burner while parliamentarians have served up a hot mess. The lack of uncertainty over Brexit has caused untold damage to the economy because it has discouraged businesses from investing. Political focus has been on parliamentary mathematics, not on the business of supporting the economy and employers. Now we have a government and, perhaps, a plan, we need them to get down to the basics of economic support creating an environment which is fit for business. We expect the focus to be heightened on infrastructure investment and the development of our talent. We also need quick answers to international trading arrangements and an immigration policy that is fit for the needs of Scotland and its employers.
 
“Our Scottish representatives at Westminster need to put the economy of Scotland at the forefront of their minds and in all policy discussions; that means supporting job creation and enabling Scotland to remain ahead of the game in global competitiveness. For those who have been elected or re-elected, they would do a complete injustice to the people who have voted them in if they do not ensure they use their voice and votes wisely.
 
“Now more than ever we need our leaders at Holyrood and Westminster , to get behind the needs of the economy to ensure that Scotland remains prosperous for all.”

Millions of office workers have suffered an injury - as a result of their job.

Millions of office workers have suffered an injury - as a result of their job.

 

A study of 2,000 UK professionals found 78 per cent of hard-workers have been troubled with back ache, knee pain and even repetitive strain injuries due to their role.

Nearly half have experienced lower back pain, while a fifth have endured tingling or numbness in their fingers or hands.

But while a quarter reckon injury prevention is already a priority within their current workplace, three-fifths said more needs to be done to avoid work-related ailments.

It also emerged more than a quarter believe aches, pains and injuries only affect professionals with more physical jobs, such as builders.

 

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Kirsty Angerer, The Travelling Ergonomist expert for Contour, which commissioned the study, said: “Contrary to popular opinion, it is not just those who work in jobs requiring physical activity - or in workplaces with obvious risk hazards - that are regularly affected by office injuries.

“Our research has found the average office worker is at just as much risk of experiencing pain, with issues such as repetitive strain injury being exacerbated by poor working postures and a lack of variation in the working day being on the rise.

“Office workers will want to take preventative measures to ensure this doesn’t affect them.

"I believe that there is an inherent opportunity to enhance people’s performance.

"Rather than just surviving the work day, it’s about how we encourage people to thrive.”

 

The study also found a fifth had no idea their desk set-up could impact upon their health in the long-term.

Just under four in 10 know how high their monitor should be to prevent injury, and a third were unaware of how to sit to maintain good posture.

More than half are sitting at their desk in ways which could be bad for their health, including having their legs crossed, tucking their feet beneath them and having their legs outstretched.

Some workers are even taking pain killers to try and prevent pain, while others are seeking professional medical help or investing in a standing workstation.

Others are opting for more unconventional methods such as drinking herbal tea, doing stretches in the office or taking health supplements.

 

It also emerged the average hard-working adult will sit down for as long as three hours at a time, standing for a total of just 28 minutes during their working day.

Despite not being clear on the causes of their pain, nearly eight in 10 believe it can have a negative impact on their mood.

More than a third said their pain has affected their sleep, while three in 10 admitted being in physical discomfort led them to snap at their partner.

A fifth have been irritable with colleagues, with one in seven taking out frustrations from their pain on friends.

And one in 10 have even been left unable to play with their children.

 

Consequently, almost four in 10 have either changed jobs or considered changing jobs - a major life decision - based solely on the factor of physical pain.

It also emerged three in four will spend nine days a month working from somewhere other than their desk.

Trains, cafes and even a park bench are among some of the places hard-working adults are picking up emails from, as well as libraries, hotel lobbies and at home.

As a result, two-thirds of those polled, via OnePoll, reckon these unusual working spots are having a detrimental impact on their physical health.

Kirsty added: “Office workers can make some simple changes to their working day.

"Adjust your chair, desk and computer so you can adopt a healthy neutral posture.

"Additionally, make sure you take breaks from sitting at your desk; regular movement is as important for your health as using the right computing tools.”

 

For more information, go to https://campaign.contour-design.co.uk/kirsty

Half of workers fear they could be in the wrong job - with many prepared to take a pay cut to land their dream role.

Half of workers fear they could be in the wrong job - with many prepared to take a pay cut to land their dream role.

 

A study of 2,000 adults found a quarter of professionals would like to change careers, with eight in 10 aiming to do so within the next FIVE years.

But 40 per cent would be willing to earn a lower salary if it meant they were working in a job they were happy in, while 60 per cent would work longer hours.

Others would consider moving to another city (52 per cent) or even another country (48 per cent).

The study was commissioned by PeopleCert, which has also created an interactive quiz [https://bit.ly/2E2EPb6] - where you can find out if you’re currently in the right career.

 

Byron Nicolaides, founder and CEO of PeopleCert, said: “Having a satisfying job is incredibly important to our overall levels of happiness and self-esteem.

“But many of us feel trapped and unsure where to turn to make our jobs fulfilling - certification is the simplest route to a happier career.

“And having content employees has positive implications for employers too - because happy staff are the catalyst for a successful company.”

The research also found six in 10 are bored or dissatisfied with the current position.

 

As a result, the thought of changing their career enters their head eight times a month - a total of 96 times a year.

Half also believe they are lacking direction in their career and for 39 per cent, their current role is simply a means to an end which ‘pays the bills’.

However, perhaps it’s not a complete job change they need as more than one in 10 simply want the chance to grow in their current position but believe they’d need to retrain.

In fact, a third fear they are under skilled in comparison to their colleagues and think they would be overlooked when it comes to promotions and other opportunities.

Further to this, 67 per cent of those polled believe retraining could ‘reignite’ their career and as a result would consider learning new skills in their current role.

The PeopleCert study, carried out through OnePoll, also found the typical working adult has changed their career three times to date.

And the longest period of time they have spent employed at the same place is seven years on average.

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Byron Nicolaides, from PeopleCert, the national winner for UK of the European Business Award 2019 for the Inflexion Entrepreneur of the Year, added: “It’s never too late to change your career path.

“By simply investing in new certified skill set, you can enhance your CV and equip yourself with the tools you need to grow within your current job and potentially get a promotion.

“It’s important not to be rash if you do fancy a change however - weigh up the pros and cons of your current job, consider what you want from your career and see how your role matches up.”

Are You Gambling with Your Data Through Wi-Fi hotspots

Millions of Brits have gambled with their personal data by ‘blindly’ accessing Wi-Fi hotspots, according to a study.

One in five have taken ‘significant risks’ by failing to check if public Wi-Fi connections are legitimate - instead using hotspots which are free, seem to be credible and offer fast speeds.

Worryingly, users could be connecting to ‘fake Wi-Fi’ hotspots which can appear to be reputable but allow cybercriminals to eavesdrop on users and steal usernames, passwords and bank details.

 

These Wi-Fi connections, which often have innocuous sounding names such as ‘airport Wi-Fi’ or ‘hotel Wi-Fi’, can also redirect victims to malicious malware sites and phishing sites.

Commissioned by cybersecurity company, BullGuard [www.bullguard.com], the research of 2,000 adults found seven in 10 have used free public Wi-Fi.

And of those who have done so, more than a third have entered passwords, a fifth have used credit cards and 31 per cent have accessed online banking – all data hackers are after.

 

Paul Lipman, CEO at BullGuard, said: “Consumers are choosing convenience over safety when using public Wi-Fi.

“Hackers can easily set up malicious hotspots which appear to be legitimate and yet can intercept and record people’s personal data.

“This allows them to steal usernames, passwords, credit card details, bank account information and more.”

The research also found two thirds of public Wi-Fi users have set up their devices to automatically connect to the nearest hotspot – putting their personal details on the line.

 

Paul Lipman added: “If your device is set up this way, and if you're not paying attention when you first choose a hotspot, even once, and you accidentally choose something malicious, your device will automatically select it every time it is within range.”

Further to this, four in 10 users habitually connect to hotspots with a name reflecting the location they are in such as ‘library Wi-Fi’ or ‘restaurant Wi-Fi’ – again this could be a risky move.

But despite taking gambles like these when using public Wi-Fi, the BullGuard study carried out through OnePoll found 62 per cent are ‘afraid’ their devices will be hacked.

The biggest worries are theft of bank details (68 per cent) and passwords (56 per cent) – followed by personal emails being accessed (27 per cent).

 

Paul Lipman said: “The findings show that respondents do not feel safe online, yet they are ignoring their fears and are using hotspots without checking they are safe.”

The research also identified confusion around staying safe when using public Wi-Fi - almost half are mistakenly under the impression antivirus software will protect their data.

Paul Lipman added: “Although essential for detecting and removing malware from your device, antivirus offers no protection at all from having your data intercepted by a malicious hotspot.”

“But a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an effective way of keeping you safe online when using public Wi-Fi.

“It creates a secure connection tunnel between your device and the websites and services you are accessing to keep you safe whether you’re using a smartphone or laptop on public Wi-Fi in a café, or if you want to check online banking accounts from an airport or hotel.”

Amid this, six in 10 admitted they don’t use Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) when connecting to hotspots and 57 per cent believe they are ‘too complicated’ to use.

 

TOP ACTIVITIES CARRIED OUT WHILST ON PUBLIC WI-FI:

1. Logging into a personal email account (42 per cent)

2. Using Social Media or any other account with auto login (36 per cent)

3. Logging into any account requiring a password (31 per cent)

4. Filling in forms with personal details - e.g. name, address, date of birth, telephone number (18 per cent)

5. Online banking (17 per cent)

 

MOST POPULAR PLACES TO USE PUBLIC WI-FI:

1. Hotels (53 per cent)

2. Coffee shops/restaurants (51 per cent)

3. Airports (48 per cent)

4. Public transport (37 per cent)

5. Retail shops (31 per cent)

 

STAYING SAFE ON PUBLIC WI-FI NETWORKS:

TERMS OF SERVICE

The majority of genuine public networks will ask the user to agree to their terms of service before linking up.

Instead, if you gain immediate access to unrestricted browsing tread carefully - it could be a rogue access point.

 

BEWARE OF ‘FREE’

Fake public Wi-Fi hotspots typically copy public domain names and add the word ‘free’ as a hook to lure users.

For example, if you’re in a coffee shop, you might see two Wi-Fi options - one called 'Coffee Shop Wi-Fi ' and the other called 'Free Coffee Shop Wi-Fi '.

One of these could be a malicious network and it’s likely to be the free one -

if you’re not sure ask an employee.

 

WRONG PASSWORDS

If you purposely enter a wrong password to a password protected hotspot and you don’t get an error message the access point is likely fake.

Fake hotspots will commonly let anyone access them regardless of the password entered.

 

SLOW NETWORK CONNECTIONS

Look out for very slow network connections.

This could be a sign the hacker is using mobile internet to connect you to the web using the fake hotspot.

 

SECURE WEBSITES

Pay attention to the address bar of the websites you visit.

If for instance a banking website shows HTTP instead of HTTPS - your connection is unsafe.

HTTPS with a padlock symbol means data is encrypted.

HTTP connections without a padlock are unsafe.

 

USE VPNS

Always use a VPN such as BullGuard VPN on your tablet, phone or laptop.

The VPN tunnel stops people from seeing what you are doing and VPN encryption scrambles your data rendering it useless to hackers.

 

WHAT IF YOU CONNECT TO A POTENTIAL FAKE HOTSPOT

If you suspect you have connected to a compromised hotspot, follow these steps:

• Disconnect as quickly as possible.

• Clear your list of saved Wi-Fi connections to avoid connecting to the same one in the future.

• Clear your browser cache.

• Run antivirus and malware checks.

• Change the password to any site you logged in to, and any other websites that use the same login information.

• Call your bank and cancel any bank cards if you used them over the connection.