10,000 to lose their jobs at British Airways in scramble to cut costs

More than 10,000 British Airways staff to lose their jobs as airline scrambles to cut costs

  • More than 6,000 employees across business applied for voluntary redundancy 
  • A further 4,000 were due to be told yesterday that they were being laid off 
  • Unions branded the day ‘Black Friday’ and accused BA of ‘industrial thuggery’ 

More than 10,000 British Airways staff are being made redundant as the airline scrambles to cut costs to survive the  

In a sign of the brutal cuts workers were facing at Britain’s flag carrier, more than 6,000 employees across the business applied for voluntary redundancy. 

A further 4,000 were due to be told yesterday that they were being laid off.

In a sign of the brutal cuts workers were facing at British Airways, more than 6,000 employees across the business applied for voluntary redundancy

Many of the remaining staff will suffer steep pay cuts and will see significant changes to their contracts.

Long-serving cabin crew claim they could lose up to 50 per cent or 60 per cent of their income from the shake-up – which caps the amount cut from their basic pay at 20 per cent but will strip out a number of take-home allowances. 

Unions branded the day ‘Black Friday’ and accused BA of ‘industrial thuggery’. BA has been at loggerheads with cabin crew unions Unite and GMB over the job-cutting plans, which it insists are crucial to its long-term survival.

BA’s owner IAG plunged to a £3.8billion loss during the first six months of the year after the number of passengers on its flights fell by 98 per cent in the second quarter.

The company is planning to raise £2.5billion of emergency funding, backed by its largest shareholder Qatar Airways, to shore up its finances as it fears it could take until at least 2023 for business to recover. 

Rivals including Virgin, Ryanair and Easyjet are all planning to cull jobs and slash spending to survive the crisis as they face months of lower passenger numbers.

IAG boss Willie Walsh has said Covid-19 is the biggest crisis the airline has ever faced.

A British Airways spokesman said: ‘We are having to make difficult decisions and take every possible action now to protect as many jobs as possible.’

The airline said back in April it could axe as many as 12,000 jobs to help it stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis. This is around 17 per cent of its 42,000-strong workforce.

The company has several different crew divisions – which it calls ‘fleets’ – that operate as separate units with their own contracts.

It wants to put all crew on the same terms and conditions that will see staff who have joined in the last decade potentially get a small salary increase.

Those who the company chooses to make redundant will have the option of entering the airline’s priority return pool of workers and will be fast-tracked into any roles that become available. 

But unions have blasted the move as a ‘fire and rehire’ strategy.

The tussle with cabin crew unions comes after pilots voted to accept a deal hashed out between BA and pilot union Balpa. 

The airline had originally planned to axe around 1,250 of its 4,300 pilots – but this has been cut to 270 because remaining staff will take pay cuts for three years.

Asos asks brands to reveal supply chains in wake of sweatshop scandal

Asos calls for clothing brands to reveal their supply chains in wake of Boohoo sweatshop scandal

Asos has demanded greater transparency from brands which want to sell their clothes on its site, following an industry-wide scandal surrounding factory working conditions.

The fast-fashion retailer is urging third-party brands to sign the Transparency Pledge – launched in 2016 by nine charities, including Human Rights Watch – which will require them to publicly reveal their manufacturing supply chains.

Rival Boohoo was accused of modern slavery, paying staff below the minimum wage and forcing them to work in unsafe conditions in a factory in Leicester.

ASOS is urging  brands to sign the Transparency Pledge which will require them to publicly reveal their manufacturing supply chains

Boohoo said it was not aware it was using the facility, and denied any wrongdoing.

Asos itself had already signed the pledge, as have River Island, Next and New Look. 

Along with other retailers, it dropped Boohoo lines – which also include Pretty Little Thing and Nasty Gal – from their sites in the wake of the scandal.

It will now ask brands to ensure they have ‘visibility’ over all parts of their supply chain, and that they can prove this to Asos. 

Asos has already ended contracts with a number of suppliers after unearthing issues with their supply chain.

The Transparency Pledge was launched in 2016 by nine charities, including Human Rights Watch.

Betting giants Flutter, Bet 365 and William Hill in tax haven row

Betting giants caught in tax haven row after being accused of fuelling gambling addiction

Britain’s biggest gambling firms have dozens of offshoots in tax havens, a Mail audit has found.

Paddypower’s owner Flutter, Bet 365 and William Hill all list subsidiaries offshore in locations such as Guernsey, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man in their annual accounts.

The complex corporate structures have raised concerns that the taxman could be losing out. 

Tax havens: Paddypower’s owner Flutter, Bet 365 and William Hill all list subsidiaries offshore in locations such as Guernsey, Gibraltar and the Isle of Man in their annual accounts

This week, a report by public policy think-tank, the Social Market Foundation, said most online companies operating in the UK are headquartered in tax havens, and claimed some do not pay corporation tax in full.

In the last two years Bet 365 paid an effective tax rate of 12.7 per cent on profits of £1.4billion.

The rate of corporation tax in the UK is 19 per cent. In its accounts, the online group said the rate was lower because of the ‘difference in tax rate of overseas subsidiaries’.

Four of the firm’s licences to operate in the UK are registered in Gibraltar or Malta, where the effective rate of corporation tax is 10 per cent and 5 per cent respectively.

William Hill, which has six subsidiaries in Gibraltar, said it expected to pay around 12 per cent in corporation tax on its profits in 2020. 

Winnings: Bet365 founder Denise Coates took home £323m in pay and dividends last year

Winnings: Bet365 founder Denise Coates took home £323m in pay and dividends last year 

Ladbrokes Coral is not required to disclose its tax rate, but one of its two licenses to operate in the UK is registered in Gibraltar.

Its parent GVC paid an effective rate of 3 per cent on profits of £81.5million between 2012 and 2015. 

Despite growing into a £4.2billion company, it has booked losses in the last four years.

In 2019 Paddypower and Betfair’s owner Flutter, which was based in Ireland ahead of its merger with the Stars Group, paid 15.9 per cent in tax. 

There is no allegation that the firms have broken the law, but the opaque web of companies they deploy makes it almost impossible to check if firms are paying the correct amount.

Matt Zarb-Cousin, director of campaign group Clean Up Gambling, said: ‘This sector is extracting massive profits from Britain while leaving the rest of the country to pick up the bill for the damage.’

Last year the Mail revealed that 32 Red, which is based in Gibraltar, paid just £812,000 in corporation tax in the ten years to 2016 – an effective tax rate of 3 per cent.

To counter the bookmakers’ tactics, the Government brought in remote gaming duty in 2014 – now levied at 21 per cent on revenue.

32 Red’s owner gambling operator Kindred said: ‘Kindred Group and all our brands – including 32Red – pays all taxes required in every market we operate including the UK.’

William Hill said any claim it is avoiding tax is ‘ inaccurate and highly misleading’.

Bet365 said it is a global business headquartered in the UK. It added that its majority shareholders and Bet365 were together the country’s largest tax payers and contributed £446million in tax last year.

A GVC spokesman said: ‘GVC is a global business. Nevertheless, group companies paid more than £2.5billion of UK taxes from 2015 – 2019 , making it one of the top 20 largest taxpayers in the country.’

Flutter declined to comment.

Lockdown savers pile £8bn into Hargreaves Lansdown

Lockdown savers pile £8bn into Hargreaves Lansdown: Broker’s billionaire founders to receive £82m in dividends

Hargreaves Lansdown was boosted by an influx of customers during lockdown, as thousands of Britons sat down to order their finances and invest.

The Bristol-based broker saw savers pile £7.7billion more than they withdrew into stocks and funds through its platform in the 12 months to June 30, and its profit before tax shot up by 24 per cent to £378.3million.

The billionaire founders of Hargreaves will receive £82million in dividends. 

Hargreaves Lansdown saw savers pile £7.7bn more than they withdrew into stocks and funds in the 12 months to June 30, and its profit before tax shot up by 24 per cent to £378.3m

Peter Hargreaves and Stephen Lansdown are to pocket £63.4million and £18.6million respectively from the company they founded in a bedroom in 1981. The pair own a combined 31.5 per cent of shares. 

Their latest bonanza comes after Hargreaves hiked its payout by almost a third to 54.9p a share.

The strong performance comes as the firm attempts to put its involvement in the Neil Woodford debacle behind it.

The firm is still facing legal action from swathes of customers who objected to its promotion of the Woodford Equity Income fund, even when it was facing severe issues threatening its stability.

But many savers appear to have forgiven Hargreaves, as 188,000 new customers joined over the year to take its clients to 1.4million.

Chris Hill, chief executive, said: ‘The impacts of Covid are really significant. But people are thinking more about saving for the long term.’

Asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen managed to stem its outflows, pulling £100million more than it lost into its funds over the first half of the year. 

This was a marked improvement on the £15.9billion of outflows it experienced over the same period a year earlier.

MARKET REPORT: Rightmove shares leap as housing revival starts

MARKET REPORT: Rightmove shares leap as housing revival starts with property search site notching up 65 days of record traffic

After months cooped up at home during lockdown, many Britons are reappraising their living arrangements.

So many, in fact, that property search site Rightmove notched up 65 days of record traffic since the housing market came out of hibernation on May 13.

Rightmove’s turnover and profit, predictably, sank between January and June when compared with 2019. Revenues fell by more than a third to £95million, while profits dived from £108million to £62million over the six-month period.

Housing revival: Property search site Rightmove notched up 65 days of record traffic since the housing market came out of hibernation on May 13

But shares in the group leapt 9.1 per cent, or 52.8p, to 630.6p after it said membership numbers – of estate agents who pay to show properties on the site – have only fallen by 3.3 per cent to 19,158.

It offered a 75 per cent discount to customers between April and June and extended this until the end of September – which should ensure it manages to keep hold of agencies if the recent ‘mini boom’ in house prices continues.

According to data from Halifax, prices rose 1.6 per cent in July as the market reacted to news of the Chancellor’s stamp duty holiday.

A surge from pent-up demand was expected after the property market ground to a halt for several months – and there has been a noticeable increase in people searching for bigger houses in more rural areas as people ‘reassess their priorities’.

Stock Watch -Codemasters

Video game developer Codemasters Group accelerated following the release of Fast & Furious Crossroads.

Slightly Mad Studios, which AIM-listed Codemasters bought last year, created the game, the latest in the phenomenally successful racing franchise that stars Vin Diesel and Michelle Rodriguez.

It was originally going to be released alongside the film of the same name, but this has been pushed back to next year. 

Shares rose 1.2 per cent, or 4.5p, to 377.7p.

Chief executive Peter Brooks-Johnson is trying to stay pragmatic, and yesterday said it is ‘hard to predict how sustained the increase in activity will be’ over the rest of this year.

Rightmove’s surge almost sent it to the top of the FTSE 100 leaderboard – but it was beaten by Hikma Pharmaceuticals. 

Hikma has started making Gilead’s Covid-19 drug remdesivir under contract in Portugal to increase global supply. It’s one of just two medicines shown to help hospitalised patients in clinical trials.

Hikma also hiked its dividend by 14 per cent (to 12p per share) after first-half profits jumped 21 per cent to £209million. 

The news was music to the ears of dividend-deprived investors and put a rocket under Hikma’s stock, sending it soaring 10.9 per cent, or 236p, to 2393p.

Rightmove and Hikma’s gains weren’t seen across the wider stock market though with the FTSE 100 climbing just 0.1 per cent, or 5.24 points, to 6032.18, while the FTSE 250 finished up 0.8 per cent, or 143.55 points, at 17622.93.

The Footsie was nudged into the black by US employment figures that showed almost 1.8m people were added to payrolls in July – a much bigger rise than economists had been expecting.

This meant the unemployment figure fell from 11.1 per cent to 10.2 per centWall Street rose on the figures, with both the Dow Jones and Nasdaq climbing in early trading. 

Traders across the world were also encouraged by figures released earlier in the day that suggested a rebound might be on the way for the global economy. 

German and French manufacturers both reported seeing a surge in demand – with industrial production in the former rising by almost 9 per cent in June – and that exports were starting to pick up.

And China released buoyant trade numbers showing exports had risen sharply in July – by 7.2 per cent compared with the same month of last year.

Rolls-Royce tipped into the red following reports that activist investor Value Act has sold out of its entire stake in the struggling engineering group.

The San Francisco-based group is thought to be annoyed by serial restructurings at the firm since it took a holding in 2015 – and its exit comes shortly before Rolls is expected to raise around £1.5billionn by selling new shares.

Footsie-listed Rolls fell 0.2 per cent, or 0.5p, to 252.6p.

DIRECTOR DEALS: Easyjet deputy chairman Charles Gurassa spends almost £500,000 on company shares 

DIRECTOR DEALS: Easyjet deputy chairman Charles Gurassa spends almost £500,000 on company shares

Easyjet’s deputy chairman Charles Gurassa spent £500,000 buying 90,241 shares in the budget airline.

The 64-year-old, who steps down from the board later this year, bought them at 554p each on the same day the firm said it would be adding flights to its schedule after bumber demand.

10,000 to lose their jobs at British Airways in scramble to cut costs

More than 10,000 British Airways staff to lose their jobs as airline scrambles to cut costs

More than 10,000 British Airways staff are being made redundant as the airline scrambles to cut costs to survive the  

In a sign of the brutal cuts workers were facing at Britain’s flag carrier, more than 6,000 employees across the business applied for voluntary redundancy. 

A further 4,000 were due to be told yesterday that they were being laid off.

In a sign of the brutal cuts workers were facing at British Airways, more than 6,000 employees across the business applied for voluntary redundancy

Many of the remaining staff will suffer steep pay cuts and will see significant changes to their contracts.

Long-serving cabin crew claim they could lose up to 50 per cent or 60 per cent of their income from the shake-up – which caps the amount cut from their basic pay at 20 per cent but will strip out a number of take-home allowances. 

Unions branded the day ‘Black Friday’ and accused BA of ‘industrial thuggery’. BA has been at loggerheads with cabin crew unions Unite and GMB over the job-cutting plans, which it insists are crucial to its long-term survival.

BA’s owner IAG plunged to a £3.8billion loss during the first six months of the year after the number of passengers on its flights fell by 98 per cent in the second quarter.

The company is planning to raise £2.5billion of emergency funding, backed by its largest shareholder Qatar Airways, to shore up its finances as it fears it could take until at least 2023 for business to recover. 

Rivals including Virgin, Ryanair and Easyjet are all planning to cull jobs and slash spending to survive the crisis as they face months of lower passenger numbers.

IAG boss Willie Walsh has said Covid-19 is the biggest crisis the airline has ever faced.

A British Airways spokesman said: ‘We are having to make difficult decisions and take every possible action now to protect as many jobs as possible.’

The airline said back in April it could axe as many as 12,000 jobs to help it stay afloat during the coronavirus crisis. This is around 17 per cent of its 42,000-strong workforce.

The company has several different crew divisions – which it calls ‘fleets’ – that operate as separate units with their own contracts.

It wants to put all crew on the same terms and conditions that will see staff who have joined in the last decade potentially get a small salary increase.

Those who the company chooses to make redundant will have the option of entering the airline’s priority return pool of workers and will be fast-tracked into any roles that become available. 

But unions have blasted the move as a ‘fire and rehire’ strategy.

The tussle with cabin crew unions comes after pilots voted to accept a deal hashed out between BA and pilot union Balpa. 

The airline had originally planned to axe around 1,250 of its 4,300 pilots – but this has been cut to 270 because remaining staff will take pay cuts for three years.

SMALL CAP MOVERS: Franco Manca owner The Fulham Shore raises £2m

Redx Pharma joined the recent spate of junior biotech success stories with an 80 per cent jump to 45p on the back of a licencing deal with AstraZeneca.

The FTSE 100 giant will pay $17million to develop Redx’s RXC006 for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, where progressive scarring of the lungs is usually fatal.

If it makes it to market, Redx will receive up to a further $360million in milestones plus royalties.

That’s quite an achievement for a junior player that, until Monday, was valued at £48million and is now worth just shy of £88million – up over 200 per cent since lockdown started.

Shares in The Fulham Shore, the owner of Franco Manca and The Real Greek restaurants, rose after seeing sales rise week-on-week since reopening and raising £2m from investors

The change of fortunes is all the more remarkable given its brief spell in administration three years ago and some struggles in raising funds.

Experts say COVID-19 patients can develop lung fibrosis, so perhaps the pandemic has accelerated the market’s interest in this condition.

Many sector-mates have seen their value rocket on the back of projects related to the pandemic: Genedrive, Avacta and Omega Diagnostics have soared 860 per cent, 760 per cent and 580 per cent respectively with their tests. Tiziana Life Sciences grew four-fold after developing a treatment candidate.

Genedrive advanced a further 16 per cent to 87p this week after teaming up with US life sciences firm Beckman Coulter to fully automate the entire laboratory testing process for COVID-19 samples.

It was a rollercoaster week for reach4entertainment enterprises, which crashed by over 50 per cent on Tuesday on plans to delist from AIM to cut spending, following a hard hit to trading while theatres and concert venues remain closed.

But the advertiser swiftly recovered 145 per cent by Friday after chief executive Marc Boyan upped his stake to 16.06 per cent, while Sigmund Freud’s great-grandson, Matthew, also seemingly increased his holding to 14.95 per cent. Herald Investment, instead, offloaded its 14.42 per cent stake. The stock ended the week 43 per cent higher at 0.3p.

Turning to the wider market, the AIM All-Share was up a solid 4.5 per cent to 924, outperforming the 2 per cent ascend to 6,018 of the FTSE 100.

It seems anomalous Feedback doesn’t already have a massive fan club. While shares rocketed last week after its imaging-based communication platform, Bleepa, was awarded a place on the NHSx National Clinical Communication Tool framework, they have since tracked back to 1.2p. 

Buying interest may have been stifled by a big seller, who is now out of the market, according to the ‘bandits’ on the bulletin boards. If this is the case, then watch this space.

Among the risers, chemicals producer Scapa soared 41 per cent to 120p after revealing profits are currently 10 per cent ahead of expectations, thanks to a swift reaction to coronavirus disruption.

Cleantech tiddler Verditek shot up 34 per cent to 15p after receiving a follow-on order worth $2.2million from Pakistan’s SAF Group for six containerised ultra-lightweight solar panels.

Elsewhere, virtual reality entertainment specialist Immotion climbed 24 per cent to 3p after launching a range of ultra-violet anti-bacterial cleaning cabinets, initially designed for its own headsets but later expanded to third parties following several commercial enquiries. It also opened its flagship ‘Ocean Explorer’ immersive centre at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Redx Pharma joined the recent spate of junior biotech success stories with an 80 per cent jump to 45p on the back of a licencing deal with AstraZeneca

Redx Pharma joined the recent spate of junior biotech success stories with an 80 per cent jump to 45p on the back of a licencing deal with AstraZeneca

Franco Manca and The Real Greek restaurants owner The Fulham Shore was up 21 per cent to 7p after serving up good news on sites reopening, with sales rising week-on-week. It also raised £2million by placing shares at a 2 per cent premium.

Fellow bar and restaurant operator Loungers surged 13 per cent to 127p after expressing confidence in its recovery with sales from July 4 to August 2 down only 1.7 per cent.

Among the fallers, SIMEC Atlantis Energy dropped 28 per cent to 13p after placing shares at a 34% discount to raise £6.5million. The renewables firm also started a partnership with N+P Group to pursue alternative fuel projects.

Likewise, AfriTin Mining slipped 18 per cent to 2p after raising £3million by placing shares at a 25 per cent discount, although it flagged that tin production at the Uis mine in Namibia rose to 35 tonnes, up 79 per cent month-on-month.

Data intelligence company Mobile Streams lost 16 per cent to 0.2p after admitting a sharp decline in half-year revenues was expected due to lack of investment in previous years.

Meanwhile, law and professional services firm The Ince Group shed 14 per cent to 24p after posting revenue down 10 per cent in the quarter to June.

Finally, social media video group Brave Bison retreated by 11 per cent to 1p after interim revenues nearly halved to £5.5million after advertisers reduced spending amid the pandemic, not helped by Facebook generating lower revenues due to a change in policy. 

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Will shares take off under new Aviva boss Amanda Blanc?

Will shares take off under new Aviva boss? Amanda Blanc hints she will pull out of some overseas markets in major shake-up

Aviva’s chief executive Amanda Blanc ended her first month in the job by hinting she could pull out of a number of overseas markets in a major shake-up of the insurer.

In a move welcomed by investors, Blanc said the insurer would be focusing on its ‘core operations’ in the UK as well as in Ireland and Canada.

She suggested the company could pull out of its operations elsewhere, such as in Asia and continental Europe. 

In a move welcomed by investors, Aviva’s chief executive Amanda Blanc (pictured) said the insurer would be focusing on its ‘core operations’ in the UK as well as in Ireland and Canada

Aviva would manage these businesses ‘in shareholders’ best interests’, Blanc said, investing where there were opportunities for growth, but added: ‘There may be better owners for these businesses than Aviva.’

Aviva, which has long been criticised for its sprawling business and a lack of strategic direction, has been under pressure for several years to slim down and clarify its focus.

Blanc has left the door open for smaller parts of Aviva to be sold off, and said: ‘We have ruled out a complete break-up of Aviva.’ 

Shares jumped 4.6 per cent on the news. 

Nicholas Hyett, an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘Aviva’s never been a terribly coherent whole. 

‘It’s not that the various businesses are incompatible, just that they’re not terrible complementary and have always been run pretty much independently.’  

Although Aviva decided to pay a 6p dividend, after cutting the payout earlier this year due to the pandemic, Blanc raised the prospect that dividends would be lower in future as the company tries to pay down debt.  

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos cashes in £2.4bn worth of shares

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos cashes in £2.4bn worth of shares as pandemic boosts sales

Jeff Bezos has cashed in £2.4billion worth of shares, as Amazon’s sales are supercharged by the pandemic.

The ecommerce business’s 56-year-old boss sold 1m shares in his company in a series of transactions on Monday and Tuesday, newly released filings show.

It was part of an arranged trading plan and follows his sale of another £3.1billion worth of shares earlier this year. 

Cashing in: Amazon boss Jeff Bezos sold 1m shares in his company worth £2.4bn in a series of transactions on Monday and Tuesday

After the latest trades, Bezos’s remaining holding stood at 54.5m shares worth £133billion at yesterday’s prices.

He is the world’s richest person with a total fortune of £144billion, according to Bloomberg’s billionaires index. 

This year he has seen his wealth swell in size by £75billion as Amazon’s share price has been buoyed by a sales boom during the coronavirus crisis.

With shoppers forced to remain indoors under lockdown, they have turned to online retailers – helping Amazon to post profits of £4billion in the second quarter alone. 

Bezos has built it into a £1.2 trillion business since he started it from his garage in Seattle 26 years ago.