ONE IN FIVE WORKERS EARNS LESS THAN BASIC STANDARD OF LIVING WAGE - More than 300,000 workers earn less than a so-called 'living wage' needed to provide an adequate standard of living, a unions claims. Almost one in five workers, employed mainly in retail, hotels, administration and the construction industry, are earning less than €11.45 an hour. The figure for the 'living wage', was calculated by a group of charities, unions and research bodies. The 'living wage' is the minimum income necessary to maintain a basic standard of living. The €11.45-an-hour 'living wage' figure is over 30% higher than the legal minimum wage of €8.65 an hour, which has not risen since 2007, says the Irish Independent. The introduction of a living wage is a key policy platform for the new Tanaiste and Labour Party leader, Joan Burton, who has called for an increase in the minimum wage to create a living wage for the working poor. She argues that introducing such a wage on a phased and voluntary basis, as has been rolled out in London, would reduce welfare spend and increase tax revenue. However, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton, whose portfolio may be under threat from Labour in this week's cabinet reshuffle, has resisted her call for any immediate adjustment to the minimum wage rate.
SETANTA SPORTS POISED TO ENTER MOBILE PHONE MARKET - Irish pay TV broadcaster Setanta Sports is planning to enter the mobile phone market in Ireland. The company is in talks with 3 Ireland about becoming a so-called mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), writes the Irish Times. This would involve Setanta piggybacking on 3’s network and using its own brand to offer services to customers. It is understood that the two companies have been in talks on a deal for the past couple of months and that Setanta hopes to launch a mobile service by the end of this year. This would be part of a suite of products that Setanta plans to offer, comprising TV, phone and mobile broadband. It will include Setanta Go, an app/online player that will serve as a second screen service to existing subscribers or be sold on a standalone basis to non-subscribers. It will deliver all five Setanta and BT Sport channels as live. It would also sit alongside Setantabet.com, a white label service that is already in existence. This could likely offer in-play betting odds to the player service. Setanta has hired consultant Leo Hassett to advise it on its mobile plans. Mr Hassett was head of mobile business development at Eircom for three years up to 2003.
PARIS RAILS AGAINST THE DOLLAR'S DOMINANCE - France’s political and business establishment has hit out against the hegemony of the dollar in international transactions after US authorities fined BNP Paribas $9 billion for helping countries avoid sanctions. Michel Sapin, the French finance minister, called for a “rebalancing” of the currencies used for global payments, saying the BNP Paribas case should “make us realise the necessity of using a variety of currencies”. He said, in an interview with the Financial Times on the sidelines of a weekend economics conference: “We [Europeans] are selling to ourselves in dollars, for instance when we sell planes. Is that necessary? I don’t think so. I think a rebalancing is possible and necessary, not just regarding the euro but also for the big currencies of the emerging countries, which account for more and more of global trade.” Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of Total, France’s biggest company by market capitalisation, said he saw no reason for oil purchases to be made in dollars, even if the benchmark price in dollars was likely to remain. “The price of a barrel of oil is quoted in dollars,” he said. “A refinery can take that price and using the euro-dollar exchange rate on any given day, agree to make the payment in euros.” One chief executive of a CAC 40 industrial group said he supported Mr Sapin’s push. “Companies like ours are in a bind because we sell a lot in dollars but we do not always want to deal with all the US rules and regulations,” he said.
NIKE PAID JUST £1m IN TAX AFTER SELLING £100m OF MANCHESTER UNITED REPLICA KITS - Nike paid just £1m to the UK taxman in the past five years on £100m sales of its Manchester United replica kits, The London Independent has revealed. The company funnelled nearly £40m over the period to its Dutch business despite making most of its money on sales to football fans in the UK, according to accounts filed with Companies House. The legal loophole saw the total tax bill in the UK for Manchester United Merchandising Ltd, which is jointly run by Nike and the football club, reduced to just £255,000 last year after an £8.3m royalty fee was paid to its Dutch subsidiary. Similar payments have been made for at least the past five years. It means the taxman missed out on a potential £9.1m over the period from the England football kit makers and leaves Nike the latest in a line of US companies facing scrutiny for their tax affairs in Europe.