Employed or self-employed?
In a decision that could have significant implications for thousands of employers and workers in the so-called ‘gig economy’ in the UK, Uber drivers have won the right to be paid the national living wage.
The case, brought by two workers leaves the ride-hailing company open to claims from some 40,000 drivers in the UK and could further pressure other companies to review the way staff are contracted and paid.
Uber had argued it was essentially a tech company, and that its drivers were self-employed contractors able to choose when and where to work. In turn, this gave the company a free pass on workers’ rights, including the obligation to pay a national living wage and other perks such as holiday and sick pay.
Space sharing for a new age of travel
The space-sharing disrupter Airbnb has ruffled as many feathers as it has inspired budget-conscious travellers the world over. By enabling homeowners to rent out living spaces – ranging from a single room to a whole house – the company has provided both a money-making opportunity for owners and a cost-effective accommodation model for cash-strapped tourists.
But the San Francisco-based company has plenty of detractors, with hoteliers complaining about the deleterious effect on their businesses, and city dwellers accusing Airbnb of contributing to the process of gentrification by reducing the availability of long-term rentals. The phenomenon has led to concerns about the adverse effect growing tourist numbers might have on historic cities, with a number of authorities cracking down on commercial activity by introducing new regulations.
Proud to be American?
Ask most US citizens if they’re proud to be Americans and you’ll get a resounding ‘yes’. So why are increasing numbers of ex-pats relinquishing their nationality? It’s a growing trend, according to the US Treasury, with recent figures showing that more than four thousand individuals renounced their US citizenship or long-term residency in 2015 – up 20% on the previous year and a sharp rise from the one thousand or so who took the plunge in 2010.
Coming in to land
If you were one of the millions of Americans who travelled by plane over the Thanksgiving break – perhaps heading home for a family gathering – you may also be among the most disgruntled air travellers in the world. Fact is, US airports are lagging way behind other countries in the world rankings, losing out to their Asian counterparts, as well as some European hubs.
Paris terror attacks cause market wobble
The economic effects of the Paris attacks are continuing to ripple outwards in the days and weeks after targeted terrorist activity ended in tragedy for 129 victims and their families in the French capital on Friday 13 November.
Predictably enough, perhaps, more than €2bn ($2.12bn) was wiped off shares in European travel and hospitality companies, as investors feared a downturn in bookings not only to France but right across the continent. Shares in airlines and tour operators dropped sharply on the first post-attack trading day, as talk of tighter border controls looked like deterring seasonal visitors. Air France shares fell by 6%, while Thomas Cook took a 4.8% hit.
The dream of transport powered by clean energy may just be that little bit closer – thanks to a historic round-the-world trip currently being attempted by the Solar Impulse team.
Boasting a record-breaking 118 hours of non-stop flight over more than 5,000 miles of Pacific Ocean, Solar Impulse 2 finally touched down on Hawaii’s Oahu Island last week to end the eighth leg of a 13-stage trip around the world. Just five days after he left Japan on the longest and most perilous part of his globe-encircling adventure, pilot Andre Borschberg safely landed his craft, having completed the journey without any fuel – a record for a plane run only on solar power. Continue reading