19th December 2022
Bite-sized business news from the UK and beyond
- Amazon UK staff vote for historic strike
- Auditor says no to crypto
Amazon UK staff vote for historic strike
On Friday Amazon workers at the Coventry warehouse voted to walkout, the first time ever in the UK. They join a growing list of British workers striking this winter to win pay rises in line with the cost of living.
How did we get here?
The decision to strike came after staff rejected a 50p per hour pay rise in August - equivalent to 5% raise and well below the current rate of inflation of 11%. The offer would have taken hourly pay to £10.56 versus the £15 workers were seeking.
The news came on the same day that luxury carmaker Rolls-Royce and the logistics company Wincanton both agreed above-inflation pay rises for staff thereby avoiding strikes.
Amazon has faced criticism for pay and working conditions
The ecommerce giant is one of the most valuable companies in the world making UK sales of £23bn last year however Coventry staff told ITV that some colleagues were struggling to pay bills, with some forced to turn to food banks.
The Coventry warehouse has had 59 ambulance visits in the past four years for reasons including burns and traumatic injuries.
Next steps: The industrial action is likely to take place next month. But Amazon said only a tiny proportion – 300 - of the tens of thousands of workers in the UK would take part therefore it won’t disrupt deliveries.
Other stories to keep you in the loop
- Black Friday fails to lift retail sales in November
- Government sends in 1,200 troops to replace workers on strike
- UK house prices expected to fall by 8% next year, says Halifax
- Bus fares being capped at £2 by 130 companies to help passengers with cost of living
- BA and Virgin halt ticket sales to Heathrow on strike days
- Co-op partners with Just Eat for home delivery
- BT aims for £100m savings in business unit merger
- SoftBank-backed metaverse creator Improbable lays off staff
- Elon Musk asks Twitter users if he should step down as boss of social media site
- Twitter bans links to other social media platforms
Auditor says no to crypto
On Friday accounting firm Mazars announced it was pausing work on all crypto clients including Crypto.com and Binance.
How did we get here?
The crypto world has been rocked by the bankruptcy of one its of the biggest exchanges – FTX - last month and the arrest last week of its founder on fraud charges.
Binance hired Mazars in November to produce a proof-of-reserves report, this checks that an exchange has enough cash and is therefore solvent and not the next FTX. However these reports are not the same as a full financial audit which reviews the effectiveness of a company’s internal financial-reporting controls and gives a view on how true and fair the numbers are.
Binance was banking on the French auditor being able to calm public anxiety about its solvency and stop customers pulling out their funds. The company, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has been hit by $6bn of withdrawals in the past week.
Elsewhere… Last week Armanino, a mid-sized American auditor, was reported to be ending its crypto audit practice entirely, after signing off on the accounts of FTX’s supposedly ringfenced American arm. The auditor fears that the resulting reputational risk could harm its non-crypto business.
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