Top Stories

March 28, 2022


Ferry operators face minimum wage law after P&O Ferries sackings

UK Ministers plan to force all ferry companies operating from UK ports to pay at least the National Minimum Wage, in a bid to persuade P&O Ferries to reinstate its 800 sacked employees and to limit travel disruption. Legislation will be introduced to the House of Commons later this week seeking to close a loophole which allows ferry operators using UK ports to pay less than the minimum wage through offshore registration. The UK minimum hourly rate is £8.91, while the average rate paid to agency staff brought in by P&O Ferries is £5.50. The move has been met with some criticism by unions, with the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union arguing that workers should be reinstated on their existing terms, not the National Minimum Wage. (BBC News)


Whistleblower claims Microsoft spends millions of dollars in foreign bribes

A former Microsoft employee has accused the technology giant of turning a blind eye on employees, subcontractors and government operators engaging in bribery. In an essay, former employee Yasser Elabd alleges that Microsoft employees using local partner companies to help sell the company’s products to customers. Microsoft has said they previously investigated these allegations, “which are many years old,” and they terminated employees and partnerships related to the claims. The letter alleges that “a minimum of $200 million each year goes to Microsoft employees, partners and government employees” in bribes. It also claims that those involved in bribes were often “government officials in Ghana, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia”. In 2019, Microsoft agreed to pay around $25.3 million, including a criminal fine, to settle charges on bribery allegations. (Business Insider)


World's biggest finance firms gave fossil fuel industry $740bn since 2020

A report published by climate lobbying database InfluenceMap has found that the world’s 30 largest listed financial firms have collectively provided $740 billion to the fossil fuel industry between 2020 and 2021. The analysis looked at the climate promises of the 30 companies and whether they were keeping in with their energy investments. While 29 of the 30 companies have committed to achieving net-zero financed emissions by 2050 or sooner, InfluenceMap found that the banking arms of the scoped businesses facilitated $697 billion in oil and gas financing and $42 billion for coal. JP Morgan is labelled as the biggest enabler of fossil fuel financing in the two-year period, having provided $81 billion. Citigroup comes in second with $69 billion, and the Bank of America at third with $55 billion. (edie)


The UK proposes to bring shipping sector into its emission trading system

The UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched a consultation on possible changes to its emission trading system (ETS), including plans to add the maritime sector. The UK launched a domestic ETS in 2021 following its separation from the EU. While power plants, factories and airlines are currently included in the Britain’s ETS, shipping is so far not included in the UK or the EU’s scheme. The UK is proposing to include the domestic maritime industry within its ETS “by the mid-2020s”. The consultation will also seek to adjust the cap in the ETS from 2024 to align it with the UK’s target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. Many scheme participants have called on the government to align the ETS with the EU, to create one shared carbon price. (Reuters)


US plan to export 15bn cubic metres of gas to EU alarms climate groups

A major deal will see the US ramp up its supply of gas to Europe in an effort to shift the continent away from Russian fossil fuel imports. The deal has raised alarm from environmental groups, who argue additional gas imports will undermine efforts to phase out the use of fossil fuels. Under the agreement, the US will provide an extra 15 billion cubic metres of liquified natural gas to the European Union in 2022, around one-tenth of the gas the EU now gets from Russia. Climate groups, such as the Sierra Club, say the agreement will embed years of future gas use at a time when scientists say the world must rapidly phase out the use of fossil fuels to avoid catastrophic climate change. (The Guardian)





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