Facebook has said it is going to do more to prevent fake news stories from spreading on the social media website.
Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg admitted recently that it needs to improve monitoring and policing of content but said it was a “crazy idea” that fake or misleading news on Facebook had helped swing the US presidential election in favour of Donald Trump.
Strike action by Southern rail staff over the role of guards and driver-only trains – which they argue are a safety risk – has meant that the rail operator's 2,242 services have come to a grinding halt.
One of the bosses of GTR, who run under-fire rail company Southern, has apologised for the travel chaos commuters will face throughout December. The RMT and Aslef unions have called for a number of strikes across the month over a long-running dispute about the changing role of conductors on trains. Alex Foulds, the deputy chief operating officer for GTR, also called the Southern service “very poor” and said it was “not good enough”.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com- – Tue, 13 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –
The walk-out adds to a wave of industrial action with strikes also hitting the Southern rail network and the Post Office.
Drivers who deliver goods for Argos are set to go on strike just days before Christmas in a dispute over pay.
The Unite union said the three-day walkout from next Tuesday threatened “mayhem” for Christmas deliveries.
Argos said it had contingency plans in place and was working to prevent deliveries from being disrupted.
Members of Unite employed by Wincanton – a separate company – at a national distribution centre in Staffordshire are engaged in a dispute over holiday back pay.
Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “This strike by our members will cause havoc and mayhem to deliveries to Argos shoppers in the run-up to Christmas.
“There will be a lot of very unhappy Argos customers, if they don't receive the iPhones, TVs and white goods that they have ordered as presents for relatives this Christmas.”
He said strike dates were only being announced as a last resort and that “Unite's door is open 24/7 to try and settle this long-standing dispute”.
Argos said: “We would encourage both sides to keep talking with the aim of coming to a swift resolution.
“We also have contingency plans in place and can reassure customers we're working hard to ensure this will not impact our deliveries this Christmas.”
The strike adds to the industrial chaos in the run-up to 25 December with hundreds of thousands of passengers being hit by action on the Southern rail network and Post Office workers planning a walkout next week.
Unite said the dispute centred on how holiday pay is calculated after legal cases established that overtime and extra shift payments should be taken into account.
It said managers at Wincanton had offered to backdate additional pay to April, while it maintains this should go back at least two years, and that each driver is owed an average £700.
Wincanton said: “We are disappointed with Unite's announcement given that at Unite's request we already have a meeting scheduled tomorrow morning with ACAS to resolve the issue.”
It said it had already agreed to change holiday pay calculations in a way that exceeds its obligations in line with recent rulings and guidance.
The company added that it was committed to ongoing dialogue with the union.
The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations” explores successful leadership through the personal and professional choices of the most influential people in business. Renowned financier and philanthropist David Rubenstein travels the country talking to leaders to uncover their stories and their path to success. The first episode features Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.
At the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago, Local Motors 3D printed a plastic car called the Strati.
Local Motors printed the car's chassis and body all in one piece, and also printed the fenders separately. The first phase of the process took just 44 hours.
Then the non-printed components (engine, seats, steering wheel, etc.) were attached in the last stage of the assembly.
“A 3D printed car like ours will only have dozens of components,” Local Motors engineer James Earle told Business Insider. In the near future, he says, it could cost only about $7,000 to manufacture, perhaps the start of what will become a niche market for customized cars.
On Friday, Coca-Cola announced that its CEO Muhtar Kent will step down from that role in 2017 and be succeeded by the beverage company's No. 2 executive, COO James Quincey. Quincey, who's worked with Coca-Cola for nearly two decades, has led the company's recent drive to cut down sugar in its drinks. In an announcement Friday, Quincey claimed that he'll continue to follow that same as CEO. Wall Street analysts said they had expected Quincey to be promoted to the top job, but originally predicted that it would be announced early next year. Quincey is expected to begin his tenure as CEO on May 1, 2017.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com/UK – – Mon, 5 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –
Higher cost of importing food and wine – due to weaker sterling – and rising wage bills could hit over 5,000 companies
Thousands of restaurant businesses in Britain could go bust because the fall in sterling since the Brexit vote has sharply raised the cost of imported food and wine, an accountancy firm has warned.
Moore Stephens says that 5,570 restaurant businesses have at least a 30% chance of insolvency in the next three years, due to inflationary pressures and stagnating disposable incomes.
The UK imports 48% of its food, according to government figures, and many restaurants rely heavily on imported food and wine. The cost of labour has also gone up, after the government raised the national minimum wage from £6.70 to £7.20 in April, with a further rise to £7.50 to take place next April.
The restaurant sector is fiercely competitive, with 200 new restaurants opening in London last year alone. This gives consumers a lot of choice and forces restaurants to cut prices or come up with special offers.
Many diners are also suffering from flatlining disposable incomes – the amount households have left to spend after tax and bills have been paid. The average gross disposable household income increased just 0.5% over the last year, from £17,872 to £17,965, Moore Stephens said, quoting official data.
Even some of the biggest restaurant companies are struggling. For example, The Restaurant Group is closing 33 outlets across the UK, including 14 Frankie & Benny’s and 11 Chiquito branches. It also plans to close its flagship Garfunkels restaurant on the Strand in London.
The company, which also owns Coast to Coast, has blamed its poor performance on unpopular new menus, higher prices and poor customer service, and vowed to listen more to its customers.
The business’s new chair Debbie Hewitt, who took over in March as part of a boardroom shake-out, has said the drop in the value of the pound following the referendum would push up the price of imported food next year but added that the company cannot afford to pass this on to customers.
There have been a growing number of warnings over dearer food prices, from Britain’s biggest supermarket, Tesco, and others, and the impact on poor families. The Bank of England, the International Monetary Fund and City economists all believe that inflation will rise to at least 3% by the end of next year, from 0.9% in October.
Mike Finch, restructuring partner at Moore Stephens, said: “It’s been a tough year for many restaurants in the face of rising costs and fierce competition. It is unrealistic to expect UK restaurant groups to avoid the impact of the fall in the pound by substituting for UK produce – they are going to face a big hit. Restaurants have to make tough decisions as to how much they try to pass on to consumers; too much and they risk losing business, too little and they lose margin.”
He said that sterling’s wild swings in the currency markets had hit small and medium-sized restaurant businesses particularly hard as they operate on tighter budgets and are less likely to negotiate long-term supply contracts. All this comes at a time when many consumers are likely to be very price conscious.
“The high number of potential insolvencies over the next year shows just how fragile finances can be in this sector and demonstrates the importance of careful financial management,” Finch added.
“There may be further challenges to come as the UK’s trading agreements with Europe remain uncertain. Many in the restaurant industry would consider the idea of additional import tariffs on foodstuffs with horror.”
A separate report showed the strain many UK consumers are under. The number of those who have taken on more debt over the last five years has risen to 37% from 27% a year ago. The findings come from a survey of 2,008 consumers with debt, including 804 defaulters who have fallen behind with payments, by FTSE 250-listed Arrow Global, which buys and manages debt portfolios.
The most common form of personal debt is credit cards that are not paid off in full every month. The fact that credit cards have overtaken mortgages as the most frequent form of debt, alongside an increase in overdraft borrowing, suggests that the nation’s habits have changed to favour short-term borrowing. More people than ever are renting as they cannot afford to buy a home.
Almost half of borrowers (48%) have a credit card which is not cleared in full each month, compared with 39% a year ago. Almost a third have an overdraft, up from 23%, while the number of those with a mortgage has fallen to 42% from 46%.
One in 10 debt defaulters who fall behind on repayments never catch up.
The latest Bank of England figures showed credit-card borrowing reached an all-time high of £66.2bn in October.
Arrow Global has arranged an industry roundtable this Friday to discuss what the industry can do to support debt defaulters. Tom Drury, the firm’s chief executive, said: “Consumer credit is vital for the smooth-functioning of the economy, but it is clear that British consumers are taking on a heavy debt burden at the moment that is not going to be sustainable for some.
“The low interest rate environment means that debt is cheap, but that doesn’t help consumers who have struggled with their monthly budgeting or suffered from a shock event like losing their job. When borrowers do fall behind on repayments, it is vital that they get all the support they need to rehabilitate their debt.”
(qlmbusinessnews.com via telegraph.co.uk – – Fri, 2 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –
Britain's vote to leave the European Union has had no effect on the majority of shoppers Christmas spending plans, according to fresh figures.
The average UK adult expects to spend £280 on Christmas gifts this year, according to a survey by PwC of 2,000 shoppers across the country.
More than two-thirds of adults surveyed (67pc) said that Brexit had no impact on their spending habits.
“We’ve seen UK consumers respond robustly to this year’s political uncertainty and sterling weakness, as evidenced by the post-referendum retail sales figures,” said Madeleine Thomson, retail and consumer leader at PwC.
Regionally, Londoners, said that Brexit will have the most impact on Christmas spending, with 44pc in total feeling that it would have either a slight or considerable impact.
However, Yorkshire and Humber had the highest percentage of people who felt that Brexit would have no impact at all on their Christmas spending.
Scotland has the highest expected festive spend with £328.66 while the East Midlands has the lowest at £241.47.
Meanwhile, around 4pc of polled Brits said they don’t buy presents at all, with 64pc saying they did not celebrate Christmas, and a quarter said they did not have anyone to give gifts to.
Following on from the Black Friday shift to online shopping, over half of adults surveyed said they would buy gift online this Christmas. Online sales reached a record £1.23bn on Black Friday, up 12.2pc on the same day in 2015, according to retail analysts at IMRG. A number of retailers also took the step to discount early meaning that online sales for the week also rose to £6.5bn.
Earlier this week John Lewis reported its biggest ever week of sales with a 6.5pc lift to £200m.
However, the high street suffered from a 7pc dip in footfall as the spending shifted online. #
Howard Schultz, who led Starbucks as it grew from local chain to global brand, said Dec. 1 he will step down as CEO in April. His next effort? Building the company's new venture: very-high-end coffee shops. Photo: Reuters
Airbnb announced for the first time that it would enforce a legal limit on the number of nights a year a host in London and Amsterdam can rent out a home. Thursday's announcement, coupled with several deals made over the past year, shows the company has started to offer more compromises to make peace with cities.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bloomberg.com – – Thu, 1 Dec, 2016) London, Uk – –
Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc will cut 800 more posts at its marine-equipment and ship-design unit, or about 17 percent of the remaining workforce, as the lower price of crude hurts demand for oil-industry exploration and service vessels.
Restructuring steps will include a further simplification of the unit’s structure, including a “streamlining” of senior management, plus unspecified cost-reduction initiatives, London-based Rolls-Royce said Thursday.
The measures will cost about 20 million pounds ($25 million), split between this year and next, and should deliver annualized savings of up to 50 million pounds from mid-2017, according to a statement.
Rolls, best known for its aircraft engines, has already cut more than 1,000 jobs at its marine operation since 2016, with the division currently employing 4,800 people across 34 countries, including 1,900 in Norway, where it is based.
The offshore market is showing no sign of recovery, with the outlook bleaker as the backlog shrinks, Chief Executive Officer Warren East said Nov. 16. The marine arm has already shut or sold 12 of its 27 sites, and is looking at cutting more locations and shifting some production to emerging economies.
Rolls-Royce’s aviation business has also been hit by a slump in sales of business and regional jets, lower utilization of older wide-body planes and a slowdown in A330 engine deliveries as Airbus Group SE switches to an upgraded model. East has said the company is on course to deliver savings close to 200 million pounds by the end of 2017.
The marine division currently supplies gear including propellers, rudders and propulsion equipment for offshore vessels, oil and gas platforms, freighters, cruise liners, ferries, trawlers, luxury yachts and naval craft, as well as designing entire ships. While the unit markets engines, they’re made by the power systems arm, which has also laid off staff.
As part of the changes Rolls plans to establish a services hub and research center for new propulsion products in Ulsteinvik, Norway.
By Christopher Jasper