Worker at Ford Aerospace, South Shields
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Firms pay workers to quit smoking and cut sick pay

The latest figures confirm north-east England still has the highest unemployment in the country.

Some employers in the region are taking innovative approaches to making the most of their workforces.

Sick days, surfing the internet and taking cigarette breaks all make a dent in working hours.

Three firms - in South Shields, Middlesbrough and Stockton - have responded by changing the way they do business.

BBC Newcastle's political correspondent Mark Denton reports.

  • 15 Feb 2012
  • From the section England