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John Monks, TUC General Secretary, warned that the introduction of a minimum wage could have a knock-on effect on jobs. Mr Monks, in an interview on LWT's Dimbleby programme, said: "Nobody knows at all what the effects of pay on jobs are ... There could or might not be some knock- on." Labour and the TUC support the introduction of a minimum wage and the European Social Chapter although Labour has so far refused to set a level for the minimum wage. Shadow treasury secretary Alistair Darling pledged, on the same programme, that a Labour government would not adopt a level which would disrupt the economy.

Pay awards are flat in manufacturing industry but rising in services, according to a report published today. The Confederation of British Industry said its pay databank showed pay awards in the manufacturing sector provisionally averaged 3.1 per cent for the three months to the end of December. That is unchanged from the figure for the three months to September and down from 3.7 per cent for the corresponding period in 1995. A third of manufacturers said that their inability to raise prices was keeping down pay awards. However, in the bigger service sector, pay awards increased slightly with awards provisionally averaging 3.8 per cent in the three months to December compared with 3.6 per cent in the previous quarter and 3.4 per cent a year ago.

Investcorp, the Bahrain-based investment group, reported record 1996 profits yesterday. Its net earnings rose 28.6 per cent to $90.4m, and the group said it planned to double dividends. The strong performance was in large part due to the sale of its remaining holding in Gucci, the Italian luxury goods maker. The company also said it was poised for new acquisitions in Europe and the US, but would not comment on a weekend newspaper report that Investcorp is the front-runner to buy Welcome Break, the chain of motorway service stations, from Granada.

Air UK and KLM are to integrate their sales and marketing functions from April, allowing the co-ordination of the two carriers' UK, European and inter-continental flights via Amsterdam's Schipol airport. The two have combined turnover in the UK of about pounds 400m. Air UK operates from Stansted and London City airports.

Germany is beating the UK in the rate at which it is creating high- technology jobs, according to a new study. Six out of the top 10 European regions for employment in high-tech sectors are in Germany, headed by Baden-Wurttenburg and Saarland. The top UK region is the West Midlands, at number seven, according to research by the University of Sussex's Institute for Employment Studies.