Amazon Workers Unleash Black Friday Strike Fury, While UK Consumer Confidence Soars – Live Business Updates

Nissan's Investment Turns Sunderland into UK's Electric Vehicle "Silicon Valley", says Prime Minister Rishi Sunak

Nissan’s investment in the UK’s automotive industry has been hailed as a massive vote of confidence by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. The company plans to produce electric versions of its Qashqai and Juke crossover SUVs, as well as the new Leaf, at its plant in Sunderland. Sunak believes this will establish Sunderland as the UK’s electric vehicle “Silicon Valley” and secure its future as a hub for electric vehicle innovation and manufacturing. The investment is part of a £2bn project by Nissan, which will also require the construction of a third “gigafactory” to supply batteries. The total investment in the Sunderland area, including the battery factories, is expected to reach £3bn. The government subsidy for Nissan’s investment has not been disclosed, but it is understood to be significant in order to ensure battery production remains in the UK.

Barclays is reportedly planning to save up to £1bn, which could involve cutting around 2,000 jobs. The cost-cutting measures are aimed at bolstering the bank’s profitability and will primarily affect its back office operations. Barclays has previously reduced expenses by slashing bonuses and jobs in its retail and investment banking businesses, but this is the first time that cuts to its back office have been reported. The bank’s managers, led by CEO C.S. Venkatakrishnan, are currently reviewing proposals to achieve the targeted savings.

The timing of Black Friday this year may push shoppers towards second-hand stores instead of seeking out bargains. The cost of living squeeze and sluggish demand have led to “discount fatigue” among consumers. According to a survey by Accenture, almost two-thirds of UK adults are planning to spend less this Christmas, and more than half of them will not participate in Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Boxing Day sales. As a result, second-hand retailers are likely to benefit as shoppers look for deals in charity shops and online platforms such as eBay and Vinted. Many retailers have already opened their own second-hand clothing or rental departments to tap into this shift in consumer behavior.

Germany’s GDP has shrunk by 0.1% in the July-September period, confirming that Europe’s largest economy is on the brink of recession. This follows stagnation in the first quarter and 0.1% growth in the second quarter. The weak growth performance of the German economy can be attributed to various factors, including cyclical headwinds, energy prices and uncertainty, higher interest rates, and a decline in demand from China. Structural challenges such as demographics, energy transition, and insufficient investment also contribute to the country’s economic slowdown. The data released today will further fuel the debate on whether Germany is once again the “sick man of Europe.”

Verdi, a German trade union, has called for strikes at five Amazon distribution centers across the country on Black Friday. The union is demanding that Amazon recognize industry-wide pay agreements, a dispute that dates back to 2013. The strike is expected to affect centers in Koblenz, Leipzig, Rheinberg, Dortmund, and Bad Hersfeld. In the UK, over 1,000 staff members at Amazon’s warehouse in Coventry are also on strike today, coinciding with Black Friday. The GMB union has organized the walkout as part of an ongoing dispute over pay and working conditions. Despite the strikes, Amazon has stated that the majority of its colleagues are working as normal and that customer orders will not be affected.

These are the latest developments in the news today. Stay tuned for more updates.

Martin Reid

Martin Reid

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