SIPTU HITS OUT AT TEVA FOR AXING BONUS SCHEME - Siptu has hit out at pharma firm Teva over its decision to axe a 2017 bonus scheme for its workers in spite of its Waterford plant recording post-tax profits of $255 million (€225 million) for that year.

Siptu said the bonus scheme is worth some €1,800 to each worker and that the unilateral decision by Teva to axe the payment for the second half of 2017 "caused hurt and anger in a workplace that had traditionally enjoyed good, positive relations". Siptu said it was a case of "won’t pay" rather than "can’t pay" by Teva. More than 630 are employed at the plant and Siptu is representing its 350 members in the dispute at the Labour Court and the outstanding bonus scheme payments to Siptu members total €630,000. Siptu told the Labour Court that the firm recorded profits of $255 million in 2017 and the Waterford facility "is the shining light of the company’s plants".

***

PUBLICAN WINS STAY ON INJUNCTION TO VACATE DUBLIN PUB - Receivers are entitled to an injunction requiring a publican to vacate a Dublin city centre premises so it can be used to help pay off a €6 million debt, the High Court has ruled.

But Mr Justice Michael Twomey put a stay on the order relating to O’Donoghue’s in Suffolk Street on condition that the rent on the premises is paid. Markey Pubs Ltd, owned by Des Markey, claimed that, under his lease of O’Donoghue’s in Suffolk Street, receivers Martin Ferris and Patrick McCoy were not entitled to the injunction because Markey Pubs was entitled to a new tenancy. Markey Pubs said the injunction forcing it to vacate should not be granted pending determination of Circuit Court proceedings in relation to the tenancy. Markey Pubs had claimed the lease was from a company of Edward O’Donoghue who, along with a number of his corporate vehicles, was advanced loans of €9.4 million in 2004-2005 by Irish Life and Permanent(IL&P). The liabilities were guaranteed by a company called Thingmote and by personal guarantee, it was claimed. Thingmote is the owner of the premises.

***

ALMOST HALF OF PROPERTIES SNAPPED UP BY CASH BUYERS - Almost half of all the residential properties bought last year were purchased with cash or savings.

Some 25,000 properties were bought without the need to take out a mortgage. This was not far off the level in the recession years, when numbers approved for a mortgage fell to an all-time low. A total of 55,000 homes were bought last year, according to the latest quarterly Consumer Market Monitor from the Marketing Institute of Ireland and UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. This was an increase of 8pc on 2017. Almost 25,000 were bought with cash, a figure which represents 45pc of total transactions. Author of the report, Prof Mary Lambkin, said the numbers who were able to buy with cash was similar to the 2009 to 2013 period.

***

GAMBLING APPS MORE DANGEROUS THAN FOBTS, STUDY FINDS - Smartphone gambling apps are more dangerous than fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) for people with addiction problems because opportunities to lose money are "just a tap away", a study suggests.

Gambling games on smartphones have surged in popularity in recent years, allowing high-stakes betting within the palm of its users’ hands, with video game-style play making them appear "harmless" and introductory offers providing incentives to sign up. Scrutiny of the gambling industry has been focused on fixed-odds betting terminals in high street bookmakers, leading the government to cut the maximum stake on the machines from £100 to £2, although this has yet to be implemented. However, smartphone gambling could be more problematic for people psychologically predisposed to addiction, given how the betting games can be accessed anywhere in the UK with an internet connection, according to academics. The study, published in the academic journal European Addiction Research, found that because users check their phones frequently throughout the day – referred to as ‘snacking’ – mobile gamblers tend to bet more often, even after suffering repeated losses.