News digest 8 May 2014

News digest 8 May 2014

08 May 2014

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

·                Pfizer tries to allay fears - Indie

·                Unite: Expose links to Pfizer – Morning Star

·                Pfizer v AstraZeneca: Big pharma needs a public stake, not a praying mantis - Guardian

·                Barclays to cut up to 8,000 investment banking jobs – Guardian

·                Shareholders revolt against exec pay - Mail

·                2.4 million children hit by family debt - Indie

Pfizer’s attempted takeover of AstraZeneca continues to dominate the headlines with a testy PMQs yesterday seeing prime minister David Cameron trying to defend his ‘cheerleading’ for the deal saying he was speaking up for Britain. Not sure how letting a prized asset go on the cheap with the potential for thousands of jobs losses while bosses get big bonuses is such a good idea, then that didn’t stop the failed Royal Mail sale. As the Mirror reports of the link of a key government adviser to Pfizer, Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke argued that the Tories must come clean on any links with Pfizer after it also emerged that Mark Textor, a pollster with close links to the Tory party, also had the pharmaceutical giant as a client. Said Tony: “There are 7,000 workers at AstraZeneca deeply concerned about their futures if Pfizer succeeds in its bid …  We want to know what is the extent of the relationship between the government, Cameron’s paid strategists and Pfizer? Has Cameron ever discussed the Pfizer bid with Crosby or Textor? It’s time for the government to publish the details of any meetings it or its hired strategists have had with Pfizer.”

And talking of jobs, Barclays has today announced that Barclays says it will cut up to 14,000 jobs this year, while its investment bank will shed 7,000 jobs by 2016. 10,000 jobs will go in the UK. Commenting, a Unite spokesman said: "These have been extraordinarily turbulent times for ordinary Barclays’ workers who have worked hard to keep the bank on track against a backdrop of continued uncertainty and redundancies. The bank needs to recognise their tireless work to put customers first while jobs have been lost and give reassurances over their futures."

And talking of futures, if you listen to Lord Myners it looks like there is a question over the future of the Co-op Group as he argues for a radical overhaul of the business and castigates members of the board, a vote on his proposed reforms will take place on 17 May. Unite national officer Adrian Jones said: “We broadly support the report. It is the only game in town at the moment that can deliver a future for the group and our members. The current situation is unsustainable and recent events should leave people in no doubt of the need for reform to secure jobs and the Co-op Group’s future.”

And talking of boardrooms there is some good news as bosses of two of Britain’s best known firms were dealt a stinging blow after investors protested at fat cat pay awards. Almost 43 per cent of Reckitt Benckiser shareholders failed to back the pay report, and nearly 40 per cent of Ocado shareholders opposed the pay report. The Mirror also runs with an exclusive highlighting the fat cat pay of outsourcing firms, one of the ideas is to cap the pay for any firm earning from the taxpayer at the prime minister’s salary, sounds like rather a good idea to me especially when the Mirror and Indie report that 2.5 million children are going without food or heating because of poor pay and debt driven by Britain’s prolonged poverty pay, that’s Con-Dem Britain…

Edited by Mik Sabiers

  Morning Star

  Daily Mirror

  Sun (no links all stories now behind paywall)

  • Miliband’s policies get greater traction up north (p2)
  • Flowers fined (p13)
  • Sainsbury’s profit record (p39)
  • Tobacco job blow (p39)
  • Co-op’s useless directors damned (p39)



  Times (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Labour ad is ‘declaration of class war’ (p6)
  • Cable may refer Pfizer bid (p18)
  • Don’t be fooled on Pfizer – Jenni Russel (p4)
  • PMQs: Sock puppet takes aim (p18) – Unite/Len McCluskey cited
  • Help to Buy to stay for first time buyers (p41)
  • Barclays to cut 20,000 jobs (p42)
  • Shareholders strike blow over exec pay (p43)
  • Myners clashes with Co-op (p45) – Unite cited




  FT (no links all stories behind paywall)

  • Former chancellors slam Help to Buy (p1)
  • Cameron seeks Pfizer promise (p1)
  • Myners fears rebuff for Co-op overhaul (p3)
  • Labour promises radical offer (p4)
  • Mondelez seals coffee merger (p15)
  • Alstom brushes off Paris plan for GE to sweeten bid (p15)
  • HSBC suffers 20% drop in profits (p17)

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