Covid forces the changes: Rewards for neglected front line workers need to be made appealing enough to attract surplus labour, says ALEX BRUMMER
Britain’s jobs miracle has been brought to a crushing halt by the pandemic.
The number to watch now is the claims count, which tells how many people are seeking benefits.
This rose by a hefty 856,000 to 2.1m in March before the crisis had barely begun. The furlough scheme is protecting the jobs of 8m workers.
Fair pay: Rewards for neglected workers on the front line in social care and hospitals need to be made appealing enough to attract surplus labour
It is hard not to think that some furloughed posts will be declared surplus to needs as the scheme is eased from August onwards.
All of this gives a wholly different complexion to the Commons’ debate on immigration.
The UK has been a magnet for young overseas workers from Europe because of its ability to create jobs.
The critical task of government going forward will be making sure that young adults coming into the workforce receive better training.
Rewards for neglected workers on the front line in social care and hospitals need to be made appealing enough to attract surplus labour.
The fight against coronavirus is being fought on many fronts. Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the Bank of England have proved super flexible in adapting an array of rescue schemes to meet the needs of commerce, ranging from the self-employed worker to large public-quoted corporations.
Firms which take government cash need to demonstrate they are not taking the taxpayer for a ride.
Both the Treasury and the Bank of England are right to make sure that those who feed at the Government’s trough play fair with all stakeholders.
Start-up companies may be required to cede equity to the taxpayer if they borrow from the £250million Future Fund.
Bigger enterprises tapping into the commercial bank schemes, or the Bank of England’s bolder corporate financing facility, are rightly being told the price of help will be limited dividend payout to investors and restraint on senior executive pay.
Maybe, just maybe, Persimmon and recent Ocado pay gluttony will finally meet its match.
Easyjet shareholders are running out of time if they want to block founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou seizing back the reins of the carrier.
The no-frills airline’s defence will not be rendered any simpler by disclosure of a cyber-breach affecting up to 9m passengers, including the credit card details of 20,000 customers.
Ostensibly, the row between Stelios and the board, headed by chairman John Barton and chief executive Johan Lundgren, is about the relationship with Airbus.
The current ‘scoundrel’ management wants to continue investing in new aircraft but has put on hold delivery of 24 planes this year and a further 24 in 2021.
Stelios wants to abort the whole contract for 100 aircraft, which he claims could leave the carrier with a £4.5billion bill.
The sum is disputed by Airbus, which has cut capital expenditure to £950million over the next 18 months.
By seeking at Friday’s meeting to sack four directors, including the top two, and promoting chief operating officer Peter Bellew – a refugee from Ryanair – to the top job, Stelios is in effect engaged in a reverse takeover.
He is using his 34 per cent share stake to seize back the pilot’s seat from an elected board.
He claims there is too cosy a relationship between Easyjet and Airbus. But Easyjet has been prudently run and has put together enough resources to see out the Covid-19 crisis.
In spite of the demeaning public spat and the support of advisory groups Glass Lewis, ISS and Pirc, there is a real chance that Easyjet’s board and minority investors could lose, leaving Stelios as cock of the roost, winning back control without a premium.
Easyjet is busy rounding up votes. But at present the board is short of the 80 per cent of the minority investors that is needed to show Stelios the red card. They should vote without delay.
With 600,00 staff around the world, few UK companies have a better view of the pandemic than hospitality giant Compass.
Half of its workforce (20,000 of whom are in the UK) are on furlough. And Compass has also snapped up a credit facility from the Bank of England.
Chief executive Dominic Blakemore is properly opting for a £2billion placing with existing investors and creditably is giving private investors the chance to buy.
To those expecting a speedy bounce back from Covid-19, Blakemore’s message is bleak. He suspects it will take two and a half years for a full recovery. Tough.
Published at Tue, 19 May 2020 21:53:19 +0000-ALEX BRUMMER: Covid forces the changes