If you have a sneaking suspicion that your job is taking over your life, you’re not alone.]]> |||
New York - If you have a sneaking suspicion that your job is taking over your life, you're not alone.
A third of full-time workers say it has become more difficult to manage work-life balance over the past five years, according to an Ernst & Young report published on Tuesday.
The report, based on a survey of 9 699 employed adults around the world, found that people complain about ever-longer hours, disappointing raises, and a lack of flexibility among their employers, especially when the employees have children. Even as companies install policies designed to ease workers' single-minded focus on their jobs, work-life balance is steadily becoming a unicorn in the working world. Here's why...
1) The 40-hour work week is a thing of the past
Nearly half of managers say they have to work more than 40 hours a week, and 39 percent say they've been asked to work longer hours sometime in the past five years. Managers with children don't get cut any slack - instead, it seems they're penalised: 41 percent of managers who are parents say they've had their hours increased, compared with 37 percent of managers without children.
2) Millennials are getting more responsibility at home and at work
Millennial employees are getting their turn to lead in the workplace. Ernst & Young says millennial employees commonly start managing other workers between ages 25 and 29. About 62 percent of millennials are managers. Yet that timing coincides with another big life event for many young employees: having children. “US millennials are likely taking on more responsibility - as both parents and managers - at the same time,” the report said.
3) Flextime is a double-edged sword
While the bulk of employees say they work standard office hours, millennials are more likely to have “flexible hours” - meaning they're expected to be on call whenever the company needs them.
4) The economy is stressing people out
Employees are still feeling the after effects of the Great Recession. More than a third say they've had to stay at a job they'd otherwise have left because of a scarcity of opportunities elsewhere, while about the same share has had to change jobs against their will because of the economy. With fewer options comes more stress at home: More than a fifth of employees with families have had to discuss quitting, reducing hours, or returning to the workforce with their partners to improve work-life balance.
5) Being a working parent is better almost anywhere else in the developed world
The US is one of the few developed countries in the world that doesn't require companies to offer paid parental leave to workers. Employees have taken note. Among millennial workers, 38 percent say they'd pack up and leave the country if it offered better parental-leave benefits. A majority of workers said that if their company were more flexible and had better parental-leave policies, they'd be less likely to quit, would work longer hours, be happier at work, and recommend their workplace to others. That was especially true for millennials and Gen-Xers.
Greece blew hot and cold with its euro zone partners as it struggled to avert a potentially catastrophic funding crunch this month.]]> |||
Athens/Brussels - Greece blew hot and cold with its euro zone partners on Tuesday as it struggled to avert a potentially catastrophic funding crunch this month, when it must make a big debt repayment to the IMF as cash reserves dry up.
Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said after talks in Paris and Brussels that he expected euro zone finance ministers to acknowledge next Monday progress towards a cash-for-reform deal, opening the way to easing Athens' liquidity crisis.
“We are certainly going to have a fruitful discussion on May 11 that will confirm the great progress that has been achieved and will be yet another move, yet another step, in the direction of a final agreement,” he told reporters after meeting European Economics Commissioner Pierre Moscovici.
Earlier, Moscovici had warned the euro zone would not even begin to discuss longer-term funding and ways to reduce Greece's debt until Athens had agreed a “consistent, detailed, complete” economic reform programme with its creditors.
His comments appeared to slam the door on Greek hopes of bypassing an interim deal and moving directly to a comprehensive debt relief agreement by the end of June.
As a goodwill gesture, a senior privatisation official said Athens was ready to finalise a 1.2 billion euro deal with German operator Fraport to run regional airports and to reopen bidding for a majority stake in the port of Piraeus.
Tuesday's diplomatic flurry came after leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras spoke by telephone on Monday night to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Europe's pre-eminent leader and Greece's chief creditor.
Intensive talks also continued with the International Monetary Fund, European Commission and European Central Bank on an interim deal but there was no sign of a breakthrough on key differences over pensions, labour reform and the minimum wage.
In a statement, a Greek government official said Athens had made “significant concessions” but that “serious disagreements between IMF and the EU” were blocking the negotiations and complained the two lenders had set contradictory “red lines”.
“Against this background, there cannot be a compromise,” the official said.
The statement appeared intended to shift the blame for slow progress in talks onto the lenders and show Greeks their government was taking steps to reach a deal. Recent polls have shown Greeks overwhelmingly want Tsipras to agree a compromise to avoid financial chaos.
Deputy Prime Minister Yannis Dragasakis meanwhile met ECB President Mario Draghi in Frankfurt, a day before ECB policymakers hold their weekly review of emergency lending assistance (ELA) to Greek banks.
The ECB said in a statement that they reviewed Greece's economic situation and the state of negotiations in Brussels, but it gave no further details.
Athens wants the ECB to increase the liquidity lifeline and permit the banks to buy more short-term treasury bills, easing the government's immediate funding crunch. Greece has already commandeered cash reserves from municipalities and government bodies as it scrapes together funds to repay 970 million euros to the IMF by May 12.
But euro zone central bank sources say hardliners led by Germany's Bundesbank want the “haircut” on Greek securities offered as collateral for the funding to be increased following recent credit rating downgrades of Greece and its banks.
One such source said he did not expect the council to make a dramatic change that would put Greek banks in immediate difficulty while negotiations are continuing.
The political uncertainty was enough to prompt the European Commission to slash its forecast for 2015 Greek economic growth to 0.5 percent from 2.5 percent just three months ago and cut its estimate for the primary budget surplus before debt service.
A Financial Times report that the IMF's European chief Poul Thomsen had threatened to cut a funding lifeline to Greece unless its European partners agree to a debt write-off was denied by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble.
“The IMF of course did not make such a comment” Schaeuble said, though Thomsen did say things “had become more difficult”.
A source briefed on the IMF's position said Thomsen had not explicitly made such a threat or called for a debt write-off when he met euro zone finance ministers in Riga on April 24, but had highlighted Greece's deteriorating debt sustainability.
The report had sparked a sell-off in Greek bonds and stocks while worries about Greece helped drive European shares lower.
While Germany and its allies have pointed to calm in bond markets to suggest that a Greek default or exit from the euro zone would not cause a wider financial meltdown, as it might have done in 2012, other EU countries are more concerned.
Moscovici stressed on Tuesday the Commission's goal was to keep Greece in the euro zone and avert what he called an “accident”, while Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni warned against belittling the risks of a possible “Grexit”.
“Italy's government considers it short-sighted and dangerous to underestimate the Greek crisis,” Gentiloni told reporters, adding that the idea of a Greek exit from the euro zone could not be taken lightly.
Comair's lawyers argue that perpetual bailouts allow "technically insolvent" SAA to charge unviable rates.]]> |||
Pretoria - Private airline operator Comair urged the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday to grant an order declaring unconstitutiuonal and unlawful government’s decision to give loan guarantees to troubled national airline, South African Airways.
David Unterhalter SC, for Comair, told Judge Hans Fabricius that due to the perpetual government bailouts, the “technically insolvent” SAA was charging unviable rates to the detriment of private players.
“My lord, there are a variety of alternatives which, when there is a company which is trading in insolvent circumstances and is not a going concern, save for these constant renewed guarantees that are offered. It should either go into business rescue which is a disciplinary process or into harbouring,” said Unterhalter.
“If there must be a recapitalisation of SAA, which is only the financial provision short of a business rescue then that must take place because it (SAA) is grossly undercapitalised and financial injections are being made into the company over the years. What appears to be recurring is that they are taking short-term remedial action through giving these guarantees in circumstances which we say are unlawful.”
He said the disadvantage of bailing out SAA was that the entity would continually seek future financial assistance.
“It is evident that the levels of losses incurred by SAA demonstrate that the SAA is not operated or operating within the discipline of the market on a sound commercial basis as required by the SAA Act, and the domestic air transport policy. It is further clear that SAA is not able to conduct its business in such a manner as to yield an appropriate return on assets employed, or to produce a dividend for the shareholder,” said Unterhalter.
“The provision of the R5 billion guarantee under those circumstances enables SAA to continue to operate outside its mandate to operate on a commercial basis and cause harm to private sector competitors, including Comair.”
The respondents in the matter include minister of public enterprises as first respondent, minister of finance as second respondent and the SAA athe fifth respondent.
In court papers, Comair stated that it had operated in the South African airline industry since 1946. The documents indicate that Comair carries an average of 4,8 million passengers per annum locally and regionally with aircraft branded under the British Airways and kulula.com colours.
Outside court, Comair Limited chief executive Erik Venter said the government interference in the airline sector through the billions of rands directed at SAA had made the playing field uneven.
He said Comair would “certainly reconsider” future investments in South Africa if it lost a High Court challenge.
“It would certainly make us reconsider how much we are prepared to invest into this industry if know we are going to be facing unfair competition in the future,” Venter said outside the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria.
“Losing this case would give us a clear indication of what the view of government policy is in South Africa. If we lose, it would mean policy is irrelevant in South Africa as it’s is not necessary for the government to adhere to it.”
Comair currently operates budget airliner Kulula.com and the British Airways in southern Africa.
Venter said his company’s court case was not against SAA receiving government funding.
“If SAA is going to get funding, that should be done through the correct Parliamentary channels where representatives of the taxpayers get to comment on it. The way it is being done now (the bailouts), representatives of the taxpayer don’t have the opportunity to comment on the SAA funding,” said Venter.
“We are saying you cannot bypass the Parliamentary budget processes. Other government departments also require this funding.”
Venter said policy dictated that the playing field must be even for all players.
“A state enterprise uses taxpayers’ money and the taxpayers have representatives to manage that money. One of our arguments in this case is that the funding of SAA is not going through Parliament. It is being done in the background through guarantees,” he said.
“We are challenging the manner it is being done and whether it is in line with the principle of (having) a competitive environment for the South African market. Is government prepared to compromise a competitive environment by continued bailouts of the SAA?”
He said in many countries, particularly in the European Union, it was illegal for the government to pour funds into the national airlines.
Siemens AG and China's SAIC have denied a Reuters report that the regulator investigated the German group's healthcare unit and its dealers for “commercial bribery”.]]> |||
Siemens, regulator deny China bribery report
SHANGHAI, May 5 (Reuters) - Siemens AG and China's State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), a competition regulator, denied a Reuters report that the SAIC investigated the German group's healthcare unit and its dealers for "commercial bribery".
"The SAIC has not launched a commercial bribery investigation into Siemens Healthcare Unit," a spokesperson for the regulator said in a statement on its website.
Senior Germany-based Siemens spokesman Matthias Kraemer said in response to the Reuters article: "The fact is, a branch of Administration of Industry and Commerce (AIC) in Shanghai is looking into Siemens Healthcare's Laboratory Diagnostics marketing and business model, which is common worldwide in the industry."
"Contrary to the recent media reports, the probe is neither corruption-related nor related to any personal benefits to individuals," he said, adding Siemens was working closely with AIC to dispel its concerns and "expects to resolve the matter in the near future."
(Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Engen Tham; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)
2015-05-05 14:55:41+00:00 GMT+00:00 (Reuters)]]>
ArcelorMittal's South African unit will cut its second-quarter production by 6 percent due to slack demand from its domestic market.]]> |||
Newcastle - ArcelorMittal's South African unit will cut its second-quarter production by 6 percent due to slack demand from its domestic market, it said on Tuesday.
“Production to be reduced by a further 6 percent to 4,300 tons per day to reduce the steel stock on hand,” the firm said in a presentation delivered at its Newcastle steel plant in South Africa's eastern KwaZulu-Natal province.
Eskom has announced that it will implement stage 1 loadshedding from 5pm until 10pm.]]> |||
Johannesburg - Eskom will cut 1 000 megawatts of electricity from the grid from 5pm until 10pm on Tuesday, the power utility said on its Twitter page.
Metalworkers union Limusa has defended its decision to refer its fight with car manufacturer, Toyota SA, over recognition to the Labour Court.]]> |||
Johannesburg - The Liberated Metalworkers Union of South Africa (Limusa) has defended its decision to refer its fight with car manufacturer, Toyota SA, over recognition to the Labour Court.
The newly registered union and Cosatu affiliate had approached the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) following a dispute with the company after it refused to process subscriptions of its members. This was due to a 30% threshold it had signed with the National Union of Metalworkers of SA to get recognition at the company as a union.
According to the agreement, Toyota can only process stop-orders for union subscriptions if the union has a minimum of 30% of Toyota’s total staff at the hotly-contested Prospecton plant in Durban.
Numsa released a scathing email on Monday, accusing Limusa of withdrawing from the CCMA in favour of the court as it could not produce evidence to support its high membership claims at the plant.
“The decision by (Limusa leader Cedric) Gina to withdraw the arbitration is an admission of their peddled lies that there cannot back-up with legitimate and correct information,” Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said in a statement.
But Limusa has shrugged off this version of events.
Gina said on Tuesday the decision had nothing to do with the reasons expressed by Numsa and labelled them as “attention-seeking”.
“Firstly, CCMA has no jurisdiction to nullify collective agreements. Secondly on our original application to CCMA, we did not include or site NUMSA as a second respondent on the dispute as they are party to the agreement we are challenging,” said Gina.
The union also plans on conducting a membership verification process at the plant.
It is likely that the two warring unions will face-off in court as Numsa believes Limusa is nothing but a “shelf union” designed to destabilise it following Numsa’s expulsion from Cosatu last year.
Limusa currently has 625 verified members and 450 unverified at the Toyota plant which employs around 6000 workers.
At least eleven workers at Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine have been suspended, the company said.]]> |||
Rustenburg - At least eleven workers at Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine have been suspended, the company said on Tuesday.
“The employees were suspended for valid reasons which were communicated to them . The suspension is with pay,” said spokesman Mpueleng Pooe.
“A union has intervened on behalf of the employees and the matter is currently under discussion with the said union. The employees are well aware of this process.”
The eleven were suspended last month after they apparently complained to the company about house breaking at their residence provided by the company.
Spokesman of the group, Peter Botlhoko said they were suspended on April 8, after they told union leaders at a meeting that residents were expected to be addressed by company management.
“We are accused of assault, burning a car and recruiting for the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu). We are told Amcu gave us R2 million to recruit members for them. These (allegations) are all hearsay,” said Botlhoko.
He said the group did not know why they were on suspension.
A strike by Gautrain bus drivers is on the cards if a meeting next week over lunch hours does not go well.]]> |||
Johannesburg - A strike by Gautrain bus drivers is on the cards if a meeting next week over lunch hours does not go well.
The drivers, mostly represented by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, embarked on a go-slow on Tuesday morning which caused major delays for commuters mainly in Sandton and Midrand in Gauteng.
They are demanding a one-hour continuous lunch break instead of the current 20 minute breaks from their employers, Mega Express.
Numsa spokesman Castro Ngobese said in a statement that a high-powered union delegation would be deployed to the meeting on Tuesday next week.
“If the scheduled meeting fails to broker a deal or settlement on this impasse, the union will explore other organisational strategies and tactics, based on a democratic and worker-controlled mandate from workers.
“It will be the workers that will guide the union on the next course of action, but we don’t rule out the possibility of calling for a full-blown strike until this matter is resolved,” he said.
Scandal-plagued HSBC says net profits climbed by almost one percent in the first quarter.]]> |||
London - Scandal-hit global bank HSBC said on Tuesday that net profits climbed by almost one percent in the first quarter, aided by a “strong” performance at its investment banking division.
Earnings after taxation climbed to $5.26 billion (4.75 billion euros) in the three months to the end of March, compared with $5.21 billion a year earlier, the Asia-focused bank reported in a results statement.
Pretax profits advanced 4.4 percent to $7.1 billion in the same period. That easily beat market expectations of $5.8 billion, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg.
During the quarter, HSBC was forced to apologise for “unacceptable” failings at its Swiss division following allegations that the unit helped rich clients hide billions from the taxman.
The lender was meanwhile fined late last year by US and British regulators for attempting to rig foreign exchange markets.
“Our business recovered well in the first quarter following a difficult fourth quarter,” said chief executive Stuart Gulliver in Tuesday's earnings release.
“Global Banking & Markets had its usual strong start to the year, with a notable increase in year-on-year revenue in our markets businesses.”
HSBC has faced a storm over claims that it helped clients from around the world dodge taxes on accounts containing 180 billion euros ($204 billion) between November 2006 and March 2007, in cases that are being investigated in several countries.
The lender revealed last month that it was facing a French criminal probe over the so-called “SwissLeaks” affair.
Last week, meanwhile, HSBC launched a review on whether to remain headquartered in Britain as the country increases regulation and taxation of the sector.