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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Thursday, July 21, 2016 Posted by Hari No comments Labels:
Posted by Hari on Thursday, July 21, 2016 with No comments | Labels:

Firms back Theresa May's attack on runaway executive pay
Business leaders have given a resounding endorsement of Theresa May’s proposals to shake up corporate governance and put pressure on runaway levels of executive pay. In a new poll by FTI Consulting, seen exclusively by City A.M., 81 per cent of senior figures from small, medium and large companies backed a tougher government stance on how the UK’s largest companies are run. Theresa May pledged last week to put big businesses under the microscope as prime minister, announcing her intention to introduce completely binding shareholder votes on executive pay and force companies to publish their pay ratios — the difference between the salary of the average worker and the top earner. In further departure from previous Conservative policy, she also signalled support for employee representation on boards and stricter controls over foreign takeovers of UK firms. CITY AM

Millennials to become first generation to earn less than their predecessors
The Resolution Foundation found that under-35s earned £8,000 less in their twenties than Generation X workers. The thinktank defines Generation X as those born between 1966 and 1980 and millennials as those born between 1980 and 2000. If wages for millennials follow the same path as Generation X, average career earnings will be about £825,000. That would make them the first generation to earn less than their predecessors over the course of their working lives. Its research found that some of the pay squeeze was due to under-35s entering the job market as the recession hit, but it also concluded that generational pay progress had ground to a halt even before the financial crisis struck in 2007/8. Torsten Bell, director of the Resolution Foundation, said: "We've taken it for granted that each generation will do much better than the last - earning more and enjoying a higher standard of living. But that approach risks looking complacent given the realities of recent years and prospects for the future." The research comes as Prime Minister Theresa May warned last week of a growing divide between a "more prosperous older generation and a struggling younger generation". The think-tank also found that millennials will have spent £44,000 more on rent by the time they reach 30 compared to the baby boomers, and £25,000 more than Generation X. BBC NEWS

PM urged to launch inquiry into low pay of "self-employed" Hermes couriers
Frank Field MP, chairman of the powerful House of Commons work and pensions select committee, said the government should review HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) criteria that allow companies to contract work to self-employed individuals rather than hire them as employees. Referring to Theresa May’s first speech as prime minister, in which she said she would legislate for “families who are just managing” and people who “have a job but … don’t always have job security”, Field said: “This is a really good chance for [May] to start this new approach. This [issue with self-employment] is undermining government policy which is to raise wages at the bottom.” The Guardian obtained information about the earnings, hours and expenses of couriers for Hermes, which delivers parcels for retailers including John Lewis, that indicated some were earning below the national living wage of £7.20 per hour for people aged 25 and over. However, because the couriers are self-employed and not covered by the national living wage, the arrangement is legal. The general secretary of the TUC, Frances O’Grady, has also called for reform. “This isn’t just one company,” she said. “The rise of bogus self-employment is hitting people’s incomes and job security across the country.” Field’s call came as the Citizens Advice Bureau revealed a marked increase in the number of people coming forward with concerns about self employment and employment status. One case involved a childminder who worked set hours, five days a week but was hired on a self-employed basis and told she needed to start saving up for her own holiday pay and sick pay. Another case involved a pub employee whose landlord had told him his work was finished unless he switched to self-employment. The man was worried he would no longer receive holiday and sick pay or a steady wage and working pattern. The UK’s self-employed workforce has grown by 800,000 to 4.7 million since 2008, according to official figures. As many as two-thirds of self-employed workers in the transport sector, which includes couriers, delivery drivers and Uber taxi drivers, now earn below the national living wage. GUARDIAN

Uber faces legal challenge from drivers demanding basic rights including holiday pay, sick pay and minimum wage
Two test cases, brought by drivers James Farrar and Yaseen Aslam at Central London Employment Tribunal and supported by the GMB union, argue they should be entitled to holiday pay and receive at least the national minimum wage. Uber claims it is a technology company rather than a taxi firm, and allows people to be their own boss and work flexibly. In his statement Mr Farrar said Uber claimed it had paid him £13.77 an hour on average for the hours he has logged in the app. But he said his earnings for August last year after expenses came to just £5.03 an hour - below what was then the national minimum wage of £6.70 for those over 21. David Reade QC, representing Uber, argued drivers have a choice about their work, there is nothing to force them to work exclusively for Uber, and they are free to work with other private hire operators. But Mr Farrar said Uber controls him 'very, very carefully', logging him out of its system if he ignores two bookings - which Mr Reade said only happens if a driver dismisses three consecutive jobs - and puts him in a 'penalty box' for 10 minutes, also sending him warnings if he does not take jobs, all of which he said would make doing extra work for another company unrealistic. Mr Farrar also explained he had to be 'very, very careful' about deciding whether to take jobs: he had been physically assaulted twice, racially abused once and verbally attacked many times while working as an Uber driver. But he said that even if drivers cancel jobs over safety fears they are penalised. He told the tribunal: 'Sometimes you have to choose between your own safety, your own life sometimes, and doing this job.’ DAILY MAIL

First-time buyers half as likely to be single as 20 years ago
Figures from the latest English Housing Survey show that in 2014-15 just 14% of first-time buyer households were made up of single people, compared with 29% in 1994-95. The change comes despite growth in people living alone, which the Office for National Statistics said accounted for 29% of UK households in 2015. Over the same 20-year period, the share of the market that comprised couples rose from 63% to 80%, and the proportion of couples with children increased from 20% to 31%. The remaining 6% of buyers were loan parents or those buying in larger groups. The majority of first-time buyers were aged between 25 and 34, but the average age increased from 30 to 33, and the proportion of new buyers aged between 35 and 44 almost doubled – from 11% to 20%. The increase in average ages may also mean that people are more likely to be in a couple before they buy. The survey shows that the number of first-time buyers dropped from 564,000 in 1994-95 to 300,000 in 2014-15 despite an increase in the number of households in the same period. First-time buyers were especially hit by the credit crunch in 2008, with banks and building societies withdrawing mortgages for those with small deposits, but they have come back into the market since the government’s help-to-buy scheme was launched in 2013. The housing charity Shelter said: “More and more people on ordinary incomes have no choice but to face a lifetime of expensive, unstable private renting, unless they’re lucky enough to have help from friends and family.” GUARDIAN

Rail minister Claire Perry quits after admitting she feels 'ashamed' about chaotic train delays
Claire Perry quit the Government today just two days after admitting she felt 'ashamed' to be in charge of Britain's railways because of the chaotic delays hitting London commuters. She resigned from her post at the Department of Transport before new Prime Minister Theresa May had time to sack her. Mrs Perry, MP for Devizes, has been the public face of anger over delays at crisis-hit Southern Railway. She has repeatedly refused demands to strip Govia Thameslink Railway of owning Southern Railway despite services being hit by high levels of staff illness, crew availability, walkouts by the rail union RMT and bitter disputes over guards' responsibilities. Commuters have reported losing their jobs and missing out on seeing their kids, as a result of the chaos - which saw the embattled operator cancel at least 341 services every day. They staged a protest earlier this week after Ms Perry appeared to reject their calls to renationalise the line. The beleaguered rail operator introduced its emergency timetable yesterday – axing 341 services a day to avoid ad hoc cancellations – as it struggles to cope with a union dispute and a series of 'sickie strikes'. DAILY MAIL

U.S. charges two British HSBC executives over $3.5 billion forex scam
Mark Johnson, HSBC's global head of foreign exchange cash trading in London, and Stuart Scott, its ex-head of cash trading for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, were charged in a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Brooklyn. Both men were charged with wire fraud conspiracy, in a case that a person familiar with the matter said was the first against individuals to flow out of a U.S. Justice Department probe of foreign-exchange rigging at global banks. Prosecutors said Johnson, 50, and Scott, 43, misused information provided by a client who had hired HSBC to convert $3.5 billion to British pounds in connection with a planned sale of one of the unnamed company's subsidiaries. The two British citizens then used their insider knowledge to engage in a process called front-running in which they made trades ahead of the December 2011 transaction, resulting in a spike in the price of the currency that was detrimental to HSBC's client, prosecutors said. "Ohhh, f---ing Christmas," Johnson told Scott in a recorded call the day the transaction went through, the complaint said. In total, HSBC earned $3 million from trades its FX traders placed and earned $5 million executing the transaction, the complaint said. "The defendants allegedly betrayed their client's confidence, and corruptly manipulated the foreign exchange market to benefit themselves and their bank," Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement. The case was, according to a source, related to a years-long Justice Department probe that has led to four banks last year pleading guilty to conspiring to manipulate currency prices. The charges came a day after the Federal Reserve Board said it was banning Matthew Gardiner, a former FX trader at Barclays and at UBS, from participating in the banking industry for manipulating pricing benchmarks. HSBC was not among the four banks that pleaded guilty, but in 2014 agreed to pay $618 million to resolve related probes by U.S. and British regulators. The Justice Department has continued to investigate, and HSBC has set aside $1.2 billion to cover various forex-related probes, according to a regulatory filing. REUTERS

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