Thursday 12 November 2015

Thursday, November 12, 2015 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, November 12, 2015 with No comments | Labels:

Majority of top CBI companies do not pay living wage
British Airways and BP International are among the 15 corporate members of the 21-strong president’s committee of the CBI that are not designated as living wage employers. The research is based on the work of the Living Wage Foundation. The chancellor’s national living wage, dismissed by critics as a rebranding of the national minimum wage, is due to be introduced at a rate of £7.20 an hour from next April – way below the foundation’s own definition of an hourly living wage of £8.25. The CBI responded to the Guardian’s research on Friday by warning that “unaffordable mandated wage increases” put jobs at risk. The companies that are not accredited living wage employers include Airbus Group, BAE Systems, Capita, ExxonMobil, IBM (UK), Jaguar Land Rover, Shell, TSB Bank and Veolia Environmental Services. The six companies on the committee that do pay the living wage are Accenture, Centrica, HSBC, KPMG, the National Grid and Pearson. The Living Wage Foundation has a strict definition for a company to be designated as a living wage employer. A spokeswoman said: “Accredited living wage employers commit to paying both all of their directly employed staff as well as sub-contracted teams working on their premises, at least the living wage, and in the capital, the London living wage.” GUARDIAN

Germany widens VW diesel emissions investigation to include other brands
German car regulators are expanding their investigation into suspected diesel emissions manipulation beyond Volkswagen to more than 50 models from brands including BMW, Mercedes, Ford, Volvo, Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover. The Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (KBA) regulator said it would run tests on models made by 23 German and foreign car brands on suspicion of further manipulation of nitrogen oxides emissions. KBA said the tests were triggered by Volkswagen’s admission it had rigged such tests but also cited “verified indications from third parties regarding unusual pollutants emissions“. The watchdog said it has been comparing readings in a test setting with those from portable meters in real-life tests and two-thirds of the measurements had already been taken. VW admitted in September to cheating tests for emissions of nitrogen oxides and the scandal widened with the company’s revelation last week that it had also understated carbon dioxide emissions. GUARDIAN

National Grid plays down fears of power crunch and blackouts
National Grid has faced criticism for allowing spare capacity to fall to 1.2%, down from a peak of 16.8% in 2011-12 and the lowest since 2005-06. The fall follows closures and reduction in output at a number of power stations. The first auction to encourage new capacity to fill the shortfall took place last December. The government expected a number of new gas-fired power stations to be built but most of the new capacity was provided by existing power stations with only 5% coming from a new plant. National Grid CEO, Steve Holliday, also announced plans to sell a majority stake in the company’s gas distribution business, which is said to be worth about £10bn. Holliday said the sale of the gas distribution business would leave National Grid with higher growth businesses to fund its dividend and investment though it will keep a “sensible” stake, likely to be at least 20%. Potential buyers could include foreign sovereign wealth funds and other infrastructure investors attracted by steady rates of return, he said. National Grid’s pre-tax profit for the six months to the end of September rose 21% to £1.37bn. It increased the interim dividend by 0.29p to 15p. GUARDIAN

David Cameron complains to his local council about cuts to services
David Cameron has become embroiled in a bizarre row with his local council after he complained about cuts to frontline services that it blames on the government slashing its budget. The Prime Minister wrote to Oxfordshire County Council leader Ian Hudspeth to say he is "disappointed" at proposed "cuts to frontline services, from elderly day centres, to libraries, to museums". Mr Cameron, who is the MP for Oxfordshire's Witney constituency, warned in a letter leaked to the local newspaper that the council should "move cautiously in setting out its budget plans" and that the government had not yet announced how much the council would receive in central government grants next year. He also advised that the council should sell off excess council property to help fund vital services. But Mr Hudspeth replied to remind the PM that he "worked hard to assist you in achieving a Conservative majority" and suggested that the cuts were needed as a result of government funding being slashed. Mr Cameron said that while there had been a "slight fall" in government grants much of the apparent cut-back was due to a re-allocation of school funding from local education authorities to academies. He said the council's spending power had actually increased by 1.3 per cent. Mr Hudspeth hit back by saying he would not describe the government's grant dropping from £194million in 2009/10 to just £122million this year as a "slight fall". The council leader said that the local authority had also reduced its staffing levels by 3,000 people since 2010. He added that Mr Cameron's suggestion to sell off land would be "neither legal, nor sustainable in the long-term since they are one-off receipts". TELEGRAPH

Consumers face ticket resale 'stitch-up', says Which?
Consumer group Which? says it found examples of anti-consumer tactics, including tickets for sale before the official release date, and resale restrictions being ignored. Which? said that, while it was not illegal to resell tickets for a profit, it was likely that the industrial scale of the unusual selling patterns it found were only possible because of "botnets" - computer software that buys up tickets so fast that it makes it hard for genuine fans to get hold of them. It added that rules under which consumers must be told of any restrictions on the tickets, seating details and the face value price were repeatedly flouted. "People get rightly frustrated losing out on popular tickets, particularly when they end up on sale at the same time on secondary sites at higher prices," said Richard Lloyd, executive director at Which? The ticketing site StubHub said: "If we are made aware of speculative selling on our site for specific events, we will investigate and remove the listings where appropriate.” The government is currently carrying out a review into the issue. BBC NEWS

Women in full-time jobs 'work for nothing' until 2016
Equal Pay Day marks the point in the year when the average woman in effect stops being paid compared with the average man. This year, it is five days later than in 2014, indicating that the pay gap between men and women is narrowing. However, at the current rate of progress it will take 50 years to close the gap, says the Fawcett Society, which campaigns to promote women's rights in the labour market. The group wants employers to promote flexible working arrangements and the government to invest more in childcare. Official figures show men earn 14.2% more per hour than women. Meanwhile, a report for the trade union body, the TUC, said that the pay gap was even more marked among high earners. Among the top 5% of earners, men tended to earn 45.9% more than women and among the top 2% the gap was 54.9%, the TUC said. "It is shocking the UK still has such a large gender pay differences at the top of the labour market after more than four decades of equal pay and sex discrimination legislation," said Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC. "We need pay transparency, equal pay audits and a requirement on companies to tackle gender inequality - or face fines." BBC NEWS

Big Banks Could Be Forced to Raise Up to $1.19 Trillion to avoid future taxpayer bailouts
The plan, drawn up by the Financial Stability Board (FSB) in Basel, Switzerland, is meant to ensure that the world’s biggest lenders maintain sizable financial cushions that can absorb losses as a bank is failing, without threatening a crisis in the broader banking system. The new standards aim to make banks change the way they fund themselves to better weather a crisis, and to ensure that the cost of a giant bank’s failure will be borne by its investors, not taxpayers. The rules will apply to the world’s top 30 banks, such as HSBC Holdings PLC, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Deutsche Bank AG, which the FSB classifies as “systemically important.” Banks are considered to be systemically important if their failure would pose a broad threat to the economy. The FSB rule doesn’t have any legal force until it is implemented by regulators in the countries where the affected banks reside. In the U.S., where eight of the banks are located, the Federal Reserve earlier this month proposed a somewhat stricter version of the regulation. The new rules are more favorable to banks than what was seen in the regulators’ original proposal launched last November, which suggested the minimum TLAC (total loss absorption capacity) requirement could be as high as 20%. The FSB is a group of regulators bringing together representatives from the world’s largest economies in Europe, Asia and North and South America. WALL STREET JOURNAL


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