This weeks news include; ECHR rules employers cannot monitor private messages, Zoopla acquires Money.co.uk for £80 million, Bitcoin price falls after China government cracks down
Below are our top 10 stories that you need to know about. Be sure to check our twitter page and Facebook page for regular posts of important headlines. Click on the links for full stories. Get all the important stories and insights straight into your inbox by subscribing to our mailing list here.
Opinion articles of the week:
- The Guardian asks how Amazon is using catwalk trends to try to conquer high-street fashion.
- City A.M claims that No EU city matches London’s unique appeal as a finance hub.
- The Guardian looks at Deutsche Bank’s boss’ claims that a ‘big number’ of staff will lose jobs to automation.
- Bloomberg says after months of negative surprises, the pound no longer seems too fussed about bad news
1. ECHR RULES EMPLOYERS CANNOT SACK EMPLOYEES OVER PRIVATE MESSAGES
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that employees cannot be dismissed for sending private messages at work. A Romanian man was found to have been unlawfully dismissed when his employer monitored his computer, finding he had been sending intimate messages to his fiancée and subsequently dismissed him.
The ECHR overturned a judgement in the Romanian courts that stipulated that the employer was within their right to dismiss the employee. The ECHR claimed that had his right to privacy breached by the employee and therefore the dismissal on this basis was unlawful.
It is important to note that the ECHR clarifies that employers are still permitted to monitor employee communications. In this case the employee had a reasonable expectation of privacy in this case. If however, employers clearly stipulate what is permissible on work computers and inform employees of monitoring then any dismissal arising from an analogous situation is likely to be lawful.
2. ZOOPLA TO BUY MONEY.CO.UK WEBSITE FOR £80m
It has been revealed that online property search firm Zoopla will acquire price comparison website Money.co.uk for £80 million. Money.co.uk provides a platform allows customers to compare financial products like credit cards and mortgages as well as providing financial guides on these products.
The price of this deal could potentially reach £140 million as it includes an additional £60 million depending if business performances meet projections.
Zoopla has been growing rapidly as it seeks to expands its offerings beyond property markets. Revenues were up 22% this year and this acquisition follows it recent buyouts of energy price comparison site U-Switch and data firm Hometrack.
Bitcoin price fell by $300 on Tuesday after the Chinese government banned cryptocurrency crowdfunding methods. The Chinese government has banned companies from raising money from initial coin offerings. Initial coin offerings are way companies raise funds for new cryptocurrency ventures where currency is sold back to investors in return for cash or Bitcoins. Chinese regulators are now launching an investigation into the industry and the bank of China has criticised the funding method. Some analysts claimed that the fall shouldn’t be attributed to Chinese government’s decision Bitcoin fell to $4037 last Tuesday, a 20% fall in a matter of days. Whether further regulatory crack downs could hamper Bitcoins growth remains yet to be seen. Bitcoin’s price rebounded shortly after however, a clear indicator of the cryptocurrency’s resilience and the level of market confidence.
In London however, a developer is now set to allow tenants to pay rent using Bitcoin. Developer “The Collective” has announced that it will introduce this payment method after increased demand from tenants. This is the first time cryptocurrency has been seen in the housing markets and it will be interesting to see if this is a catalyst for widespread adoption of Bitcoin payment. Read The Guardian’s report for more.
4. SOUTH AFRICA AND NIGERIA OUT OF RECESSION
Two African giants, Nigeria and South Africa have both finally moved out of recession. Nigeria’s largely oil based economy was rocked by the crash in commodity prices. Oil prices fell below $30 a barrel in 2016 but the price has since rebounded to over $54 a barrel (10/09/17).
South Africa on the other hand had a shorter recession. South Africa’s agriculture and finance sectors have both risen significantly which took the economy out of recession. There are serious concerns that this recovery is only temporary as theres a lack of confidence in long term growth indicators.
5. EQUIFAX CYBER HACK
Equifax, a credit monitoring company was victim to a large cyber security breach. Personal data including social security numbers, birthdays and addresses of up to 143 million Americans is thought to be affected. Hackers accessed the date between May and July by exploiting a website application. The data of some British and Canadian citizens is also thought to have been accessed in the breach.
Further controversy arose when three senior officials at Equifax sold a total of $1.8 million of shares shortly after the company discovered the breach. The company however claimed that the executives had not yet been informed about the breach at this point. Bloomberg looks further at the issue.
6. FAT BURGER LAUNCHES $24 MILLION IPO
Burger Chain FAT Burger has announced that it planning to float on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange. Fatburger has gained the following of a number of notable celebrities and Kanye West now owns 10 stores after he became a franchisees. FAT Brands the parent company of Fatburger and it hopes to raise $24 million from its initial public offering. Shares will be offered at $12 a share.
7. MCDONALDS WORKERS STAGE FIRST STRIKE EVER
Workers at 2 McDonald’s stores have launched a strike following a dispute over working conditions. This is the first time in McDonald’s history that industrial action has been taken by workers. Workers at the Cambridge and Crayford stores launched the strike at midnight on Monday.
This followed a dispute over wages and job security. Workers wanted a mimimum £10 per hour wage and greater job security as many workers are on zero hour contracts.
To find out more about the strike read BBC News’ report.
8. THOMAS COOK PILOTS WIN LEGAL BATTLE TO STRIKE
On Wednesday, Thomas Cook Airline pilots won a law suit against their employer for the right to strike. The strike took place on Friday morning at 3am and lasted for 12 hours after Thomas Cook failed to gain a injunction from the court. The injunction would have prevented the industrial action but a judge at the high court rejected the case.
The pilots were striking over unfair pay cuts and poor working conditions but talks broke down. There was an 88% ballot turn out for this round of industrial action and plans for more strikes have now been announced. The British Airline Pilots’ Association (Balpa) said that the Thomas Cooks’ pay increase offer was not substantial enough.
To find out more about the dispute read BBC News’ report.
9. ALL NEW JAGUAR LAND ROVER CARS TO BE ELECTRIC/HYBRID FROM 2020
Jaguar Land Rover has announced that all of its new vehicle lines will be either electric or hybrid from 2020. Jaguar has only recently revealed it’s new fully electric Jaguar which is set to be released next year but has fully committed to an electric future for new lines.
This move only applies to new vehicle lines as existing petrol and diesel models will still continue to be made as electric cars gradually become more widely adopted.
This move follows Volvo who announced this summer that they would only produce electric or hybrid cars from 2019. The UK government has also announced a ban on the sale of all petrol and diesel cars from 2040
Read Sky News’ report for more information.
10. ASDA TO CUT 300 ROLES
Asda has announced that it will be cutting roughly 300 jobs at its head office and another office site. This is part of its efficiency drive and will alter the support services offered to its stores. 800 roles will also be altered as part of this move.
Steep competition from rapidly growing rivals like Aldi and Lidl has put more pressure on Asda to boost its efficiency. Last quarter however, it reported a growth in sales for the first time in three years so these moves could be translating into profits.