Top Stories

April 04, 2022


Amazon workers in New York win landmark vote to form US union

A team of workers from technology giant Amazon has forced the company to recognise a trade union in the US for the first time. Workers at a New York warehouse voted 55% in favour of joining the Amazon Labor Union in a landmark win. However, in Alabama, where Amazon was facing a separate union drive, the company appeared to have fended off activists in a tight contest in which challenged ballots could yet overturn the result. Together, the two elections mark a milestone for activists, who have long decried labour practices at Amazon, the country’s second largest employer. In a statement, Amazon said it was disappointed by the loss in New York and that it was evaluating how to proceed. It also accused regulators of improperly influencing the vote. (BBC News)


P&O Ferries faces criminal investigation into sacking of 800 sailors

UK authorities have launched a criminal investigation into P&O Ferries and its sacking of nearly 800 UK-based sailors with no notice last month. The Insolvency Service said it had “commenced formal criminal and civil investigations” into the sackings, “appeared to have failed to follow” the proper process for notifying both government and trade unions. Business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warned that failure to inform the authorities is a criminal offence and could lead to an unlimited fine for a company or its directors. However, it is not clear whether these penalties apply to the maritime sector, where the employer’s obligation is to notify authorities in the countries it is registered. In cases of wrongdoing, the Insolvency Service has power to petition the courts to take action to disqualify the directors. (Financial Times)*


UN unveils scrutiny group for non-state net-zero target standards

The United Nations has launched an “expert group” aimed at developing ambitious and coherent standards for net-zero emissions pledges from businesses, investors, cities and regions. The High-Level Expert Group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities was launched on the 31st of March by UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The group will aim to improve the current definitions for net-zero standards by issuing credibility criteria and measurement metrics for decarbonisation. The group will also introduce processes to verify progress and reporting for net-zero commitments and create a roadmap to translate standards into international and national-level regulations. The expert group consists of balanced representation across gender, diversity and geographical location. It is expected to make recommendations before the end of 2022. (edie)


Protecting Indigenous lands is crucial in reaching Paris Agreement

The UK government has announced it will ban conversion therapy for gay and bisexual people in England and Wales, missing out transgender people from its proposals. The news came hours after the government was criticised by LGBTQ groups and MPs for saying it would drop plans for the ban entirely, with ministers stating they would explore non-legislative routes. According to NHS England, conversion therapy tries to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The ban now means that therapy to change a person’s sexuality will be outlawed but practices trying to change a person’s gender identity will not. This comes despite the government’s 2017 national LGBT survey, which found that trans people were twice as likely to be offered conversion therapy compared to gay and bisexual counterparts. (BBC News)


Protecting Indigenous lands is crucial in reaching Paris Agreement

A report has found that fulfilling the Paris Agreement will not be possible without acknowledging and supporting the role Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) play in restoring and protecting lands. Published by forestry research group the Forest Declaration Assessment, the report focuses on the potential of IPLC lands in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru to mitigate climate change. The research found that IPLC lands were carbon sinks in at least 90% of the research target areas. In the four scoped countries, each hectare of IPLC lands sequesters an average of 30 metric tonnes of carbon annually, twice as much as lands outside IPLC protection. This equates to about 30% of the countries’ Paris Agreement targets for 2030. The report highlights the need to protect these lands from cattle ranching, mining, and logging. (Eco-Business)

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