News digest 14 May 2014

News digest 14 May 2014

14 May 2014

Today’s top reads: Stories to keep an eye out for:

·                BLOG: Five questions Pfizer must answer - Tony Burke - LabourList

·                Pfizer boss boasts of company 'pride' to MPs' committee – Morning Star

·                National Express faces joint attack from Unite and Teamsters – Guardian

·                Asian Ukip members quits - Mirror

The evidence by Unite, Pfizer, AstraZeneca and business secretary Vince Cable over the possible hostile Pfizer bid for the UK pharma giant features in almost all of the papers. To sum up, Cable told the BIS committee that the government was keeping its options open on the prospect of Pfizer taking over AstraZeneca (in other words he’ll just wave it through if it happens), AstraZeneca warned that a merger with Pfizer could massively impact the company’s drugs pipeline impacting patient care (until senior management is bought out with major share options and millions), while Pfizer insisted any takeover would be good for Britain, but refused to make any firm commitments on job cuts or future R&D. Unite assistant general secretary outlined five key questions for the committee which showed that the deal was not just bad for the workers, but bad for Britain too, Tony Burke’s final words to the committee about any assurances summed up Pfizer’s pledges as: “worthless.”

The other major business story featured in the mail and Guardian highlights a joint challenge by Unite and US union the Teamsters over bus company National Express’ ‘victimisation’ of union reps and members at the company’s US operations. National Express Group shareholders are being asked to back a resolution that would fundamentally improve the company’s employment policies and practices at today’s Birmingham AGM. Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “It’s nothing short of shameful that a British blue-chip firm should behave in this way in the US.“ Let’s hope the motion is carried…

And from workers under pressure to pop stars and tax avoiders. Chris Blackhurst in the Indie comments on the Gary Barlow case calling on the government to send out tax bills, while the Times notes that ‘celebrities’ invested some £340 million in the tax avoidance plan, time for them to pay up, believe it when you see it.

And from belief to disbelief and that sums up the realisation of one Ukip activist, Sanya-Jeet Thandi, who has quit the party accusing it of ‘racist populism’. Thandi, who had been tipped as a future Ukip leader by Nigel Farage – decided to resign over the poster campaign claiming 26 million EU citizens were seeking to take the jobs of British workers. And that’s just one of Ukip’s inane policies, why not resign over abolishing maternity rights, a flat tax cut for millionaires, the privatisation of our NHS and an end to workplace rights and pay security? Farage may seem funny, but voting Ukip is no joke, eight days until the election and the message is clear, don’t vote Ukip…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • I quit ‘racist’ Ukip (p2)
  • Huge rise in foreign nurses at NHS (p2)
  • Astra disaster (p8)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Ukip ‘cash for Euro seats’ scandal (p1)
  • Celebs put £340 million in tax-avoidance plan (p7)
  • Only frack in Labour seats says Tory peer (p9)
  • Heathrow wants to drive M25 underground (p19)
  • Drug buyout risks lives (p39)
  • Carney faces threat to credibility (p41)
  • MPs accuses Pfizer chief of spin (p44) – Unite/Tony Burke cited




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Le Pen slams Farage’s racism jibe (p1)
  • ‘Praying Mantis’ fears linger as MPs grill Pfizer chief (p1)
  • Unions call on monsters to block Pfizer bid (p2)
  • Balls tells chancellor to rein in Help to Buy (p3)
  • Cheque Centre pulls out of payday lending (p4)
  • Airbus orders halve (p20)
  • Danone in talks of medical goods exit (p23)
  • RBS opts for  citizens IPO (p23)

Comment on this story