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UK Edition
20th October 2021
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Foreign investment deals to create 30k UK jobs
Foreign investment deals in low-carbon sectors in the UK announced yesterday will create about 30,000 jobs, the government has said. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced 18 new deals worth £9.7bn, including investments in sectors such as wind and hydrogen energy, sustainable homes and carbon capture. The prime minister said investors had recognised "the massive potential in the UK for growth and innovation," and such investments would power the economic recovery and help to achieve the government's levelling-up agenda for UK regions. The biggest pledge is from Spanish energy company Iberdrola, which plans to invest £6bn in offshore wind farms as part of a project that will create 7,000 jobs. Logistics firm Prologis is set to invest £1.5bn in the UK over the next three years to develop net zero carbon warehouses, supporting about 14,000 new jobs. "We believe private sector innovation has, and will continue to play, a major role in overcoming the environmental challenges the world faces today," said Prologis CEO Hamid Moghadam. Meanwhile, Getir plans to put more money into expanding its activities across the UK. The delivery firm uses a fleet of electric vehicles and is aiming to create about 7,000 permanent jobs in 2022.
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Business confidence in UK at three-year high
The latest Santander Trade Barometer has found that UK businesses are at their most confident since 2018 despite widespread disruption to supply chains. The report found that since the economy emerged from lockdown, 73% of businesses are confident about their growth prospects over the coming three years. Santander said that companies had “largely moved past the initial pandemic-driven slump,” with 43% reporting an improved performance over the past year. While 48% of respondents said they planned to hire more staff, 35% said staffing challenges were the most negative aspect of the pandemic and 67% said attracting workers would be the most important factor determining growth in the coming year.
Asda to hire 15,000 Christmas staff
Asda has announced it is looking to hire 15,000 temporary workers to help meet the expected surge in demand over the Christmas period. The supermarket chain is to hire 1,500 drivers and 500 depot workers, while the remainder will be store-based roles. The company added that some seasonal staff will be kept on after the Christmas rush to cover for permanent workers taking holidays.
Payroll firm Deel raises $425m
Global payroll solution company Deel has completed a $425m Series D financing round which values the business at $5.5bn. The Times of Israel notes that Deel was founded three years ago by CEO Alex Bouaziz, a French Jew who immigrated to Israel, and chief revenue officer Shuo Wang. The company’s platform enables employers to draft contracts for workers in over 150 countries and pay salaried staff and freelancers in local currency and according to local laws. Customers worldwide include Coinbase and Shopify. Bouaziz said: "The way people work is fundamentally changing. And it's never going back. We founded Deel because we didn't want hiring or payments to prevent businesses from building the best global teams and finding the best global talent. We're going to keep challenging the norms of how companies operate and continue building tools that shape the future of work." The company’s rapidly growing value comes amid fast-increasing salaries for human resources, notes The Times.
EU hints at extension to euro-clearing equivalence deal
Mairead McGuinness, the EU’s head of financial services, has hinted at a possible extension to the post-Brexit deal which allows banks from the bloc to access clearing houses in the City. Saying that Brussels would prefer to avoid a “cliff edge” situation, she said: “We have to make sure that there is no instability in the short-term, but we also have to look at our long-term interests.” A temporary equivalence deal between the UK and EU means City exchanges and clearing houses run by the London Stock Exchange and ICE can work on euro-denominated deals. A carry-over deal where pre-Brexit rules still apply to the euro clearing market is due to run out by June 31st next year. City A.M. says industry officials expect the EU to grant the City a temporary extension, but with high volume interest rate and credit default swaps in euros likely to be excluded – meaning clearing would have to move to the bloc.
City generates nearly £100bn in taxes
Research by lobby group TheCityUK reveals that the City generated nearly £100bn in taxes last year. For every £100 in taxes, the financial, legal and accountancy sectors contribute nearly £13. The report shows that the accountancy and legal sectors alone yielded £20.5bn in taxes for the public coffers, a 5.4% increase on two years ago. The growth of these sectors has consistently outpaced the rest of the economy’s growth, with legal and accounting’s gross value added, a measure of output, rising 27.8% between 2011 and 2020 compared to 5.3% for the wider UK economy. Anjalika Bardalai, chief economist and head of research at TheCityUK, said: “The relative resilience of the legal and accounting sub-sector make it well-placed to make a strong contribution to the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery.” The analysis shows that 755,800 people (2.3% of the UK workforce) are employed in the legal and accounting sectors, with partners estimated to be paying £5bn in taxes.
Miss France contest is sued over selection criteria
A French feminist organisation is suing the promoters of the Miss France beauty contest in an employment court. The "Osez le feminisme" (Dare to be a Feminist) group, along with three unsuccessful contestants, claim the promoters use discriminatory criteria to select participants. Endemol Production, which makes the annual TV programme screened on the TF1 channel, is also being sued by the plaintiffs, who say the companies are in breach of French labour law by obliging contestants to be more than 1.70 metres tall, single, and "representative of beauty." France’s labour code forbids companies from discriminating on the basis of "morals, age, family status or physical appearance," observed Violaine De Filippis-Abate, a lawyer for Osez le feminisme. The case, which has been filed in the Paris suburb of Bobigny, will hinge on whether magistrates recognise contestants as being de facto employees of the competition’s organisers and the television company.
In yesterday's press coverage we erroneously said that Kingsley Napley is the second UK law firm to sign a pledge to support staff going through the menopause. It is in fact the first law firm to do so. We apologise for any confusion caused.

Motivating your team means letting go
Staff perform better when managers ditch command-and-control style leadership and instead listen and provide support, says Jo Owen, the author of “Smart Work: The Ultimate Handbook for Remote and Hybrid Teams.”
Nurses in Portugal call strike
Nurses working for Portugal’s National Health Service (SNS) have announced that they will go on strike on November 3rd and 4th. Pedro Costa, president of the Nurses Union, said the decision was based on the “complete lack of dialogue on the part of the Ministry of Health in wanting to hear the demands” of health professionals. Union leader Costa said Portuguese nurses "were praised throughout" the pandemic, being "considered key players in the vaccination process," but "are not valued" in their career.
World Bank mishandled sexual misconduct charges, report says
The Washington-based World Bank mishandled sexual misconduct complaints brought by several women against a senior official, according to the organisation's labour tribunal. The World Bank Administrative Tribunal, which is the last resort for staff who lodge grievances against the institution, observed that Rodrigo Chaves was demoted but not dismissed despite numerous allegations of sexual harassment brought by multiple plaintiffs. "This case has brought visibility to shortcomings in the Bank's approach to accountability for sexual harassment and protection for staff," said the tribunal's report, which identified the official only as "Mr C." Chaves had denied any misconduct or else said incidents were the result of cultural differences. Annette Dixon, the World Bank's vice president of human resources, said the development lender is "strongly committed to fostering a safe working environment that is free from harassment and abuse and where staff feel empowered to report allegations of wrongdoing," adding "Like many large organisations, we know we can always do better."
Facebook settles US worker discrimination claims
Facebook has agreed to pay a record $14.5m (£10.1m) to settle US Department of Justice (DOJ) claims that the tech giant discriminated against US workers in its hiring practices and routinely favoured overseas staff on temporary visas. The DOJ alleged that from January 2018 until September 2019, Facebook "refused" to recruit, consider or hire US workers for more than 2,600 jobs. Under the settlement, Facebook will pay a civil penalty of $4.75m to the US government, and up to $9.5m to eligible victims of the alleged discrimination. The pay-out is the biggest penalty of its kind issued by the DOJ's Civil Rights Division. Facebook said it "strongly believes" it met the federal government's standards.
Hong Kong broadcaster takes cyberbullying claims to police
Hong Kong broadcaster TVB has filed a report with local police alleging cyberbullying by netizens who the company claims have launched an online smear campaign against the station, its advertisers and artists. The city-state’s biggest free-to-air television broadcaster described what it called the “harassment, molestation, pestering, threats and intimidation” employed by netizens attempting a boycott of the business and those buying advertising time on it. “This cyberbullying behaviour may cause psychological or property damage to these parties and subsequently lead to social unrest,” the company said, adding “To protect TVB and our advertisers, as well as to stop indiscriminate cyberbullying, TVB filed a report to the police in the morning.”
Tesco launches first till-free store
Tesco has launched its first "just walk out" store in London, just over six months after e-commerce giant Amazon launched its first till-free grocery store in the UK. The new Tesco GetGo store in Holborn uses weight sensors in the shelves, alongside an AI system and cameras which track customers' purchases, and follows a small trial of a similar store at the supermarket group's head office in Welwyn Garden City, which has been selling goods to employees since 2019. Shoppers are required to download the app in order to use the new store, where they scan a QR code to check in. They are charged for their purchases automatically when they leave. Around a dozen staff members will be on duty on any day, and will ensure shoppers meet age restrictions when purchasing cigarettes and alcohol.

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