The last part wasn’t spelled out, naturally, but it’s how the plot usually works when the resolution in front of shareholders is purely advisory. Even when two-thirds of investors are unhappy, the board is free to do nothing. The system is silly.
With 89% of its employees feeling exploited, we see the result of disempowered unions and unenforced regulations
While the technological advancements that have brought us tailor-made online shopping at the click of a button is worth celebrating, the delirium that surrounded Amazon’s Prime Day this week has left a bad taste in my mouth. Technological progress brings its own challenges, and the concerns of my constituents who have worked at our local Amazon fulfilment centre have only served to reinforce this view.
There is something deeply disturbing about the sheer number of accusations being levelled at Amazon’s working conditions, and that its warehouses seem to be filled with staff who say they are afraid to take time off sick. As one of the most successful companies in the world, Amazon appears to be failing the staff who keep this retail behemoth operating smoothly on a day-to-day basis, and who are therefore the real driving force behind the world’s technological revolution.
Hard or soft, clean, dirty or frictionless? As the EU debate reaches boiling point, it’s time to take a closer look at its unique lexicon
The syndrome known as “Brexit anxiety” is now so common that a team of psychotherapists from the Existential Academy is offering free sessions to help people avoid “being sucked into a vortex of gloom and doom”. Unfortunately only continental Europeans living in the UK qualify, so the rest of us will just have to pretend we like living in a vortex.
They charged him ?70-?80 a month and my mother is ?1,600 out of pocket
My father died in June last year and BT has continued to charge him ?70-?80 a month. It has advised that he should have terminated the landline agreement, which is absurd – as he was dead. My 91-year-old mother is now out of pocket by over ?1,600.
Problems began when my parents moved in 2016. We phoned BT to transfer their phone and broadband to a new address and to inform them I would now be paying for the line as they were incapable of managing their affairs.
The last day of the week is a slog at work. But using technology to work smarter could free up workers’ hours – and profit companies
The worst time in the world to get anything done is on a Friday afternoon. Shoulders drop, spirits rise, thoughts inexorably start drifting towards a sunny beer garden. Suddenly, nothing seems so urgent that it couldn’t probably wait. Wise employers have long learned not to fight the Friday feeling.
Even in the workaholic 1980s, Fridays used to be dress-down days, the one-time buttoned-up bankers were free to wear their chinos. And despite the fact that millions no longer work Monday to Friday, they’re still the day of choice in many offices for working from home – the one time you can reliably get a seat on a commuter train, or a space in a railway car park.
Dmitrii Donskoi, which went down during 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese war, has 200 tons of gold, says company claiming to have found it
A South Korean company’s claim to have found a sunken Russian warship has triggered a frenzy amid speculation the ship was carrying an enormous amount of gold when it sank 113 years ago.
The Seoul-based Shinil Group said its divers discovered a wreck it identified as the 6,200-ton Dmitrii Donskoi, which went down during the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese war off an eastern Korean island. The company speculated about 200 tons of gold bars and coins that are worth 150tn won ($132bn) would probably still be aboard the ship.
Customers can choose between original and new version, which has extra fibre
If you are watching your weight but struggle to give up chocolate there may be some relief in view, because Cadbury is to launch a new version of its famous purple liveried Dairy Milk bars with 30% less sugar.
The lower-sugar bar took a team of 20 scientists, nutritionists and chocolatiers almost two years to finesse, the company said. The recipe does not rely on artificial sweeteners, colours or preservatives but instead includes more fibre in place of some of the sugar.
Australian tycoon is believed to have recently received treatment for depression
Billionaire James Packer has resigned from 22 Australian company directorships in the past few weeks and no longer holds any board seats in his home country, according to corporate records, signalling his almost full retreat from public business life.
The major shareholder of casino operator Crown Resorts, Packer cited mental illness as the reason for his quitting that firm’s board in March, following a tumultuous period in his life, which included a breakup with singer Mariah Carey and the failure of Crown’s expansion strategy.
Dave, Gold and Drama to leave Virgin after dispute with BBC over video on demand rights
Virgin Media’s four million pay-TV customers face being unable to watch UKTV’s 10 channels, which include Dave, Gold and Drama, from Sunday as a dispute over video on demand rights to shows comes to a head.
Virgin Media has been locked in negotiations with UKTV, which is jointly owned by the BBC and US giant Discovery, over renewing a deal to carry its TV channel portfolio which includes shows such as Taskmaster, Top Gear, Only Fools and Horses, Red Dwarf, Call The Midwife and One Born Every Minute.
Fall from ?281.6m to ?77.5m reflects drop in value of investment in struggling department store chain
Profits at Sports Direct have plunged by nearly three-quarters after the retailer took an ?85m hit on its investment in Debenhams, the struggling department store chain.
The sportswear retailer, founded by the billionaire Mike Ashley, said pre-tax profits fell 72.5% to ?78m in the year to 29 April, from ?282m the previous year, reflecting the sharp drop in value of its near-30% stake in Debenhams.
Christian Bittar estimated to have dishonestly made ?2.5m on top of already huge salary
A former “world-class trader” has been jailed for more than five years after helping to rig a vital banking benchmark.
Ex-Deutsche Bank trader Christian Bittar was part of a wider conspiracy to dishonestly manipulate Euribor lending rates. The 46-year-old played a leading role in the four-year fraud and his personal profit was estimated to be around ?2.5m.
Renewable energy installations will no longer benefit from feed-in tariff, ministers confirm
The renewables industry and green groups have accused ministers of striking a major blow against household solar power after the government said a green energy subsidy scheme would end next year without a replacement.
The closure of the feed-in tariff (FIT) to new applicants from next April marks the final chapter for the scheme, which has encouraged more than 800,000 households to install solar panels since it was launched in 2010.
Even if Britain does leave the EU on WTO rules next March, life will still go on largely as normal
Now they are talking car crashes. From Brussels comes Project Fear Mk II, a “preparedness” guide for Europe if there is no deal on Brexit. It is Brussels-speak for a terrorism red alert. It covers such things as passports, air traffic control, financial transfers, military bases, data protection, medicines licensing and all the border clutter we have spent half a century removing. Unlike the remainers’ bloodcurdling Project Fear in 2016, this is not an economic fake forecast. It is frontline reality. It is Brexit as Grand Theft Auto.
And finally, London’s stock market got a small boost from the slump in the pound today.
The FTSE 100 has just closed seven points higher at 7683, a gain of 0.1%.
Whilst hot weather can sometimes encourage consumers to hit the high street, June’s heatwave, combined with the World Cup kept consumers away, resulting in non-food retailers suffering from reduced footfall.
Today’s results are part of a continuing trend. Retailers in general have been under intense pressure over the past 18 months as squeezed consumers hold back on spending in the face of higher prices and sluggish wage growth. Big names such as Marks and Spencer, Mothercare and House of Fraser have been closing stores in order to reduce costs. Meanwhile internet spending, continued to break news records.
The European commission announced the record fine on Wednesday after an investigation found the tech company had required smartphone operators to pre-install Google’s search and browser apps or lose access to its online store and streaming service.
Growth across Europe forecast to fall if UK adopted WTO rules, with Britain worst affected
Britain crashing out of the EU without a deal would inflict significant economic pain across Europe, leaving the region without any winners, the International Monetary Fund has warned.
As the new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab warned Europe to prepare for a no-deal exit, the IMF said such an outcome would hurt the UK most but would also have damaging economic consequences for Ireland and other EU nations.
Accountants from Deloitte have been appointed joint administrators at the owner of the Gaucho and Cau chains. Deloitte said that Cau, which has 22 outlets in the UK and employs 540 people, will be closing immediately while 16 Gaucho outlets – the more upmarket brand in the group – will continue to trade while administrators look for a buyer.
Legal & General investment head went to Blenheim Palace as some stayed away
Dame Helena Morrissey, one of Britain’s most high-profile women in finance, said she went to a business dinner with Donald Trump during his working visit to the UK because it was “important to engage” with the US.
Revealing a surprise fall in retail sales in June, the Office for National Statistics said clothing stores and other non-food retailers suffered from reduced footfall amid the hot weather and football celebrations.
Law Commission draws up options enabling leaseholders to extend or buy more cheaply
Millions of homeowners caught in the so-called “leasehold trap” may be able to buy their freeholds at a fraction of the price currently demanded by ground rent companies, under radical proposals from the Law Commission.
One proposal is for a simple formula where leaseholders will pay just 10 times their current ground rent to convert their property from leasehold to freehold.
With Wall Street lifted by financial stocks after Morgan Stanley’s results, offsetting a dip in technology shares in the wake of the Google fine, European markets have ended the day in positive territory.
In the UK, the FTSE 100 benefitted from a drop in the pound following the unexpectedly static inflation figures. The final scores showed:
Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell gave his second day of testimony to Congress, including a discussion on the current trade situation following President Trump’s tariffs. Reuters reports:
Powell, questioned by members of a House congressional committee, repeated on Wednesday that rising world protectionism would over time pose a risk to a U.S. and global expansion that appears largely on track to continue.
“If this process leads to a world of higher tariffs on a wide range of goods and services that are traded and those are sustained for a longer period of time, if it results in a more protectionist world, that would be bad for our economy,” Powell told the House Financial Services Committee. “It isn’t up to us to criticise (administration) policies. But the evidence is clear that countries that remain open to trade have higher productivity. They have higher incomes.”
The economy is being buffeted by growing concerns over the US president’s trade war
How does the current global economic outlook compare to that of a year ago? In 2017, the world economy was undergoing a synchronised expansion, with growth accelerating both in advanced economies and emerging markets. Moreover, despite stronger growth, inflation was tame – if not falling – even in economies such as the United States, where goods and labour markets were tightening.
Stronger growth with inflation still below target allowed unconventional monetary policies either to remain in full force, as in the eurozone and Japan, or to be rolled back very gradually, as in the US. The combination of strong growth, low inflation and easy money implied that market volatility was low. And with the yields on government bonds also very low, investors’ animal spirits were running high, boosting the price of many risky assets.
Manufacturer with most UK employees bucks the trend while Rolls and Airbus panic
While Rolls-Royce and Airbus used this week’s Farnborough International Airshow to warn of the dire consequences of a hard Brexit, Britain’s biggest defence firm, BAE Systems, simply shrugged its shoulders.
The business is Britain’s biggest manufacturing employer, with 34,000 staff and sales of nearly ?20bn last year. But Brexit? “It’s just not that big a deal [for us],” reckons the firm that makes everything from ammunition to combat aircraft and submarines.
London dragging rate down while best performing regions are east Midlands and West Midlands
UK house prices are rising at the slowest annual rate for almost five years, according to official figures showing falling London property values dragging down the rate of growth across the country.
Revealing the latest snapshot for homeowners, the Office for National Statistics said annual house price growth fell to 3% in May from 3.5% a month earlier. The decline was driven by the fourth month in a row of falling house prices in the capital.
Firm to launch appeal because ‘Android has created more choice for everyone, not less’
Google has been hit with a landmark €4.34bn (?3.8bn) fine by the European Union over “serious illegal behaviour” to secure the dominance of its search engine on mobile phones.
The European commission imposed the record penalty after finding that the US tech firm required smartphone manufacturers to pre-install Google’s search and browser apps on devices using its Android operating system, which is used on 80% of all phones. Manufacturers that refused Google would not be allowed to use its Google Play online store and streaming service.
Slowing house price rises and summer clothing sales dampen predicted leap
The chances of a rise in interest rates in August have dipped after British inflation remained at a one-year low last month, triggered by the summer sales.
Confounding expectations for the return of higher rates of inflation in June fuelled by the rising price of petrol, the Office for National Statistics said the consumer price index remained unchanged at 2.4% from the previous month.
The rail operator refused to send it back by train and insists on using an expensive courier
Travelling from Birmingham to Bristol, I left my overnight bag on the train. I reported it to the train operator (CrossCountry) and station owner (GWR) and was told by both it would likely end up in Bristol. After two weeks it arrived at Birmingham New Street where lost property is managed by the Excess Baggage Company. I have to pay a ?24 courier fee plus ?5 admin. Why can’t it just be put on the next train to Bristol? TH,Bristol
A privatised company hires a private company to return lost items! EBC says that “no system exists to transfer personal items on board trains” and that the ?24 reflects the fact few couriers pick up from stations as two staff are needed – one stays in the vehicle at all times. “We believe the charges are fair and reasonable, and are endorsed by Network Rail, and the operating companies,” it adds.
It has calculated repayments on income I did not have and now I’m in arrears
I am having a nightmare with the Student Loans Company. I completed my PhD in Canada, and decided to work here on a two-year contract earning $50,000 (?28,690) a year. But I was offered the chance to teach just two courses, earning an extra $15,000. The SLC has calculated future repayments on the basis I was earning $70,000. It won’t listen and I’m now in arrears. DS, Canada
Happily, SLC has apologised for the “incorrect” explanation as to how it arrived at the $70,000. “We have learned lessons … and have spoken to agents involved to ensure they understand the evidence required,” it says. Customers can now submit their overseas income assessment form at repayment.slc.co.uk.
The tracking of employee location, fitness and mood is on the rise. How can we ensure new tools such as big data and artificial intelligence are a force for good?
Wherever humans go, we leave little trails of data behind us. There are the digital bits – Facebook profiles, mailing lists, search histories – and there is the treasure trove our bodies can produce. Smart watches can pick up changes in skin conductivity that indicate how stressed you are, and sleep trackers can monitor how much you’re moving at night, to determine whether you’ve had the recommended eight hours’ kip. And, increasingly, we’re seeing wearables move out of the home and into the workplace.
The bank insisted I had to tell the ‘merchant’ involved to confirm the cancellation
Shortly after we cancelled a direct debit, we received an email from Barclays saying we had to contact the “merchant” we had been paying to confirm the cancellation. After complaining, we were told that if we did not do so, the merchant could continue to take a payment. Halifax, our other bank, said the same. BG,Newcastle
According to the official direct debits website, operated by Bacs, you can cancel at any time by contacting your bank or building society. “If this is by phone or internet, written confirmation may be required.” It recommends you notify the merchant, but you don’t have to. “Under the scheme, it would have to obtain your authority to reinstate a cancelled instruction,” it adds. But if you are in a contract, such as a 12-month gym membership, cancelling a direct debit does not, in itself, exonerate you from an obligation to pay.
The quest to track down long-forgotten typographical gems from the troves of the renowned German design institution
In the esoteric world of typography, legendary designer Erik Spiekermann is the equivalent of Indiana Jones.
He doesn’t wear a battered fedora or carry a whip. He has never raced through the desert on camels in a quest for the holy grail, or fought his way out of buried Egyptian tombs on the trail of the lost ark. But to graphic designers, animators, typographers and font aficionados he has done something far more impressive: he brought hidden fonts back to life and, with the help of an international group of design students, has, in his own words, “liberated them from the drawing board”.
From pork loins to concrete planters – traders at the capital’s fourth Urban Village Fete in Greenwich share their passions and products
The Greenwich peninsula is undergoing a transformation from concrete jungle to a buzzing design and creative space. To celebrate this, each year the peninsula springs to life with music, colour and dancing, as creators from all over London come together for the Urban Village Fete. Curated by Wayne Hemingway, co-founder of Hemingway Design, the event delivers his vision of recreating the type of free festival that once attracted some of the brightest creative minds to Camden and Kensington markets.