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23rd November 2022
Twitter to talk with fired Ghana staff over severance
Twitter is to hold talks with fired employees in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, the location of the social media platform’s only African office, after they were offered poorer-than-announced severance packages. Around 20 people worked in the West African country’s office. Carla Olympio, a lawyer representing the employees, said: “This is not an ordinary situation and so Twitter must obey redundancy provisions under Ghanaian law . . . You can’t compel anyone to treat people with respect but you have to obey the law.” Companies in Ghana have to notify authorities at least three months before implementing a redundancy, show they are working to mitigate any negative impact, and plan for negotiation of redundancy pay. Twitter announced it was opening its first Africa office in Ghana in a bid to "be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent," it said in an April 2021 statement.
HP to cut about 12% jobs by end of fiscal 2025
HP expects to cut up to 6,000 jobs by the end of fiscal 2025, or about 12% of its global workforce. The company employs nearly 50,000 people. Reuters notes that the cuts come at a time when sales of personal computers and laptops are sliding as shoppers tighten budgets amid a cost-of-living crisis. "Many of the recent challenges we have seen in FY'22 will likely continue into FY'23," said HP chief financial officer Marie Myers. HP estimates it will incur about $1.0bn in labor and non-labor costs related to restructuring and other charges, with nearly $600m in fiscal 2023 and the rest split between the following two years.
Bankman-Fried ran FTX as personal fiefdom, court hears
The first bankruptcy hearing for FTX was held on Tuesday with attorneys for the collapsed crypto exchange describing how former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried ran the business as his "personal fiefdom" with $300m spent on real estate for his parents and senior staff. FTX filed for protection in the U.S. after traders pulled $6bn from the platform in three days and rival exchange Binance abandoned a rescue deal. The collapse has left an estimated one million creditors facing losses totalling billions of dollars. James Bromley, a U.S. restructuring lawyer at Sullivan and Cromwell, said the company’s lawyers had seen “a lack of corporate controls at a level that none of us in the profession have ever seen.” 
BNY Mellon's Frankfurt offices raided
The Frankfurt offices of Bank of New York Mellon have been raided by Cologne prosecutors as part of their vast cum-ex probe. A spokesperson for Cologne prosecutors said searches included the homes of employees who are suspects in the case. More than 120 officers are involved, including tax investigators from three German states. The investigators are also looking for evidence of deals similar to cum-ex, the spokesperson said. Named for the Latin term for “with-without,” the cum-ex trading strategy took advantage of German tax laws that seemed to allow multiple investors to claim refunds of a tax that was paid only once.
String of problems mounting for Beyond Meat
The Wall Street Journal looks at how problems are mounting at Beyond Meat. The company's IPO in May 2019 was one of the most successful by a major firm in over 20 years. However, since then, Beyond has been losing money and amassing debt. A number of top leaders have left, including its COO, who was detained in September after being accused of biting someone's nose. Plant-based meat replacements are selling less in American grocery stores, while competitors are gaining market share. The price of Beyond's stock has dropped 83% during the past year. Ethan Brown, CEO and founder,  is credited with helping expand the market for meat substitutes with his plant-based sausages and burgers designed to look, cook and taste like the real thing. However, the WSJ notes that some current and former employees said Mr. Brown also has struggled to stick to priorities and manage Beyond’s growth - switching gears frequently in ways that have left teams confused and frustrated. According to internal documents, Mr. Brown’s drive to roll out new products on rushed timelines led to missed deadlines, disappointed customers and wasted packaging and ingredients. Meanwhile, a new offering backfired when veggie sausages slumped in their packaging on store shelves.
Labor contract splits railroad unions
One of the biggest railroad unions in the nation said on Monday that its members had voted to reject a new wage agreement mediated by the White House, severing ties with a second sizable union and moving toward a possible strike as soon as early December. Union leaders stated on Monday that they still thought a compromise could be found to prevent a work stoppage that may impede the movement of commodities around the U.S. Out of the 12 unions, four have so far voted against the proposed contract, while the other eight have approved it. Up until early December, both parties have agreed to a cooling-off period.
In California, 10% of legislature now identifies as LGBTQ
At least 10% of state lawmakers in California identify publicly as LGBTQ, believed to be a first for any U.S. legislature, NBC reports. At least 519 'out' LGBTQ candidates won elected office this year, in positions ranging from school board up to Congress and governor, said LGBTQ Victory Fund press secretary Albert Fujii. The group, along with Equality California, have calculated that California is the first state to pass the 10% threshold. The U.S. census has found that 9.1% of Californians identified as LGBT — compared with 7.9% for the U.S. overall.
Belgium formally gives employees option of four-day work week
Workers in Belgium are now entitled to a four-day week. The regulation came into effect on Monday (November 21st). But workers who take up the option will have to work the same amount of hours across the week. All employees in Belgium, whether they work in the public or the private sector, will have the choice of working nine and a half hours a day over four days, or eight hours a day over five days. Prime Minister Alexander de Croo, when he announced the new package of employment measures earlier this year, said:  "We have experienced two difficult years. With this agreement, we set a beacon for an economy that is more innovative, sustainable and digital. The aim is to be able to make people and businesses stronger.” He added that "The goal is to give people and companies more freedom to arrange their work time . . . If you compare our country with others, you’ll often see we’re far less dynamic." But euronews says reports in local media suggest that employers and employees are expressing caution about the reform. Companies fear the new “condensed” workweek could bring organizational issues, and unions believe it will simply mean a bigger workload for employees.
Program to retain Australian fintech talent
 FinTech Australia and talent platform Upplft have launched ‘The Big Match,' a tool to connect fintech industry jobseekers with new roles in the sector's ecosystem.  General Manager of FinTech Australia, Rehan D'Almedia, said: “Talent requirements are constantly shifting within the fintech ecosystem. There's always a demand for new talent from fintechs. And in other cases, companies may require new skill sets as they grow and change direction. By introducing this database, we're aiming to add an extra element of stability to the fintech talent market. We also want to retain fintech talent within the ecosystem, and ensure new emerging companies are both aware of it, and have access to it.”
Israeli AI start-up helps firms hire for diversity
The Times of Israel reports on how an Israeli-founded start-up called Joonko hopes to improve workplace diversity by providing employers with recruitment technology that encourages balance between genders and cultural and ethnic influences. “We are providing opportunities to underrepresented people, women, people of color, veterans,” said Albrey Brown, who recently joined the firm as its US general manager and VP of strategy. Creating a diverse workforce is beneficial for company culture and helps in building innovative products, Brown said, adding that it’s the “the right thing to do.”
China to consider holding Belt and Road Forum in 2023
China could host the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation next year, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) gathering in Bangkok. It would be the first staging of the event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous editions of the forum, in 2017 and 2019, were attended by leaders and officials from dozens of countries.
U.S. consumers are still applying for credit cards
Despite the Federal Reserve aggressively raising borrowing costs this year, U.S. consumers continued to seek out more credit cards, which decreased demand for mortgages, auto loans, and other forms of credit, according to research from the New York Fed. According to the most current credit access survey from the New York Fed, application rates for credit cards "remained robust" this year, reaching 27.1% in October, up from 26.5% a year earlier and above the pre-pandemic level of 26.3% in February 2020. In contrast, after a comeback in 2021, credit application rates overall slightly decreased this year. The study showed that demand is strongest from consumers with high credit scores. Application rates for people with credit scores over 760 were above pre-pandemic levels, while rates for consumers with credit scores below 680 were below pre-pandemic levels.

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