Daily Media Briefing

Daily Media Briefing


Posted in: Corporate Reputation, Daily Media Briefing, Employees, Energy, Human Rights

Top Stories

January 12, 2018


Walmart announces salary increase and bonuses – then closes 63 stores

Walmart has announced it will raise starting wages for hourly employees to $11 an hour beginning next month, as well as giving some of its hourly workers one-time bonuses that could be as high as $1,000. The company states that more than a million employees could benefit. The news was quickly dampened, however, by reports that Walmart would be closing 63 stores across the country – some with no advance notice. In many cases, employees arrived at work only to be told that their store had closed down. Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon credited the US’ recently-passed corporate tax cuts for the salary hikes. A number of other companies, including AT&T, JetBlue, Bank of America, have also announced bonuses. (NBC News)

Corporate Reputation

Facebook to change news feed to encourage more meaningful social interactions

Facebook is to change how its news feed works, making posts from businesses, brands and media less prominent. Instead, content that sparks conversations among family and friends who use the site will be emphasised. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said that he and his team felt a responsibility to make sure Facebook was good for people’s wellbeing, following recent criticism of the site’s promotion of “fake news” and its impact on users’ mental health. Facebook has previously downplayed such criticism, but Gabriel Kahn from the University of Southern California said the announcement was a “clear admission” that Facebook wielded significant power over the health of society. Zuckerberg suggested that the changes may decrease the overall amount of time people spend on Facebook, but will make the time they do spend “more valuable”. (BBC)

PwC banned from auditing listed companies in India for two years

India’s securities regulator has banned the global accountancy firm PwC from auditing listed companies in the country for two years, after it failed to spot a $1.7 billion fraud at the defunct Satyam Computer Services. In a 108-page report, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) wrote that PwC had neglected to check “glaring anomalies” in the financial details reported by Satyam, whose downfall was one of India’s worst financial scandals in recent years. As well as the auditing suspension, Sebi ordered PwC to disgorge wrongful gains of about Rs130 million ($2 million). PwC said it was “disappointed”, adding that it would seek a stay on the order before it became effective at the end of March. (Financial Times*)


Chinese city of Taiyuan shifts entire taxi fleet to electric power

In the space of a year Taiyuan, located in the heart of China’s coal country, has shifted its entire taxi fleet from petrol power to that of electricity. Thanks to strong support from the local government, electric vehicle sales in the city accounted for 7% of total car purchases in 2017, compared to 1% globally. Whilst public taxi drivers buy their own vehicles (or lease them from companies), it is the local government that decides the type of cars that can operate as public taxis through mandatory purchase requirements. The contract to buy over 8,000 cars from local electric vehicle manufacturer BYD, retailing at 300,000 yuan (US$46,000) each, was a welcome signal to the sector with city planners promising to replace all 2,650 public buses with electric ones within the next year. (China Dialogue)

Human Rights

Princes, British food company, linked to Italian labour abuse case

The British food company Princes, supplying brands such as Napolina, has become the latest firm linked with an investigation into labour abuses involving migrant workers who pick tomatoes in southern Italy. Princes buys tomatoes from De Rubertis, a supplier whose workers were described last October by Italian prosecutor Paola Guglielmi as labouring under “conditions of absolute exploitation”. Labour abuses listed in court included working for 12 hours a day, seven days a week, without breaks, with minimal pay and no access to medical staff. In a statement, Princes said its audits of the farm in 2016 and 2017 “did not reveal any evidence of illegality”. (Guardian)


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Image Source: 20150415-NRCS-LSC-0323 by U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr. Public Domain Mark 1