Connect with us

World

Airbus shedding 15,000 jobs, mostly in Europe

Published

on

An Airbus technician works in a fuselage segment in the new structural assembly of the Airbus A320 family in Hangar 245 at the Airbus plant in Finkenwerder.

Christian Charisius | picture alliance | Getty Images

Battered by the coronavirus pandemic, European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said Tuesday that it must eliminate 15,000 jobs, mostly in Europe, to safeguard its future and warned of more thin years ahead.

“With air traffic not expected to recover to pre-COVID levels before 2023 and potentially as late as 2025, Airbus now needs to take additional measures,” the company said in a statement.

No later than the summer of 2021, Airbus wants to shed 5,000 workers in France, 5,100 in Germany, 1,700 in Britain, 900 in Spain and 1,300 others at facilities elsewhere.

Airbus said it wants to start making the cuts within months, from this autumn. It will aim for voluntary departures and early retirements, but also said that compulsory job losses can’t be ruled out. It said it is already consulting with unions.

Airbus said its commercial aircraft business activity has plummeted by close to 40% as the pandemic has shut borders, brought mass tourism to a screeching halt and put airlines on their knees, thumping the European manufacturer and its rival Boeing.

“Airbus is facing the gravest crisis this industry has ever experienced,” the company’s CEO, Guillaume Faury, said in the statement. “The measures we have taken so far have enabled us to absorb the initial shock of this global pandemic. Now, we must ensure that we can sustain our enterprise and emerge from the crisis as a healthy, global aerospace leader.”

Airbus reported 481 million euros ($515 million) in losses in the first quarter, put thousands of workers on furlough and sought billions in loans to survive the coronavirus crisis.

Source link

World

The U.S. warns citizens of ‘arbitrary detention’ in China

Published

on

The national flags of the U.S. and China waving outside a building.

Teh Eng Koon | AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. has asked its citizens to “exercise increased caution” in China due to a “heightened risk of arbitrary detention” — a claim slammed by Chinese state-backed media Global Times as a “blatant distortion of truth.”

The U.S. advisory was issued on Saturday and did not specify what prompted the alert.

But it came amid worsening U.S.-China relations over a range of issues that include Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Hong Kong, as well as alleged human rights violations by Chinese officials in Xinjiang and Tibet.

“Exercise increased caution in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws for purposes other than maintaining law and order. This arbitrary enforcement may include detention and the use of exit bans,” read the advisory.

“U.S. citizens may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime,” it added.

The advisory also said that U.S. citizens may be “subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to ‘state security'” and warned that they could be detained and/or deported “for sending private electronic messages critical of the PRC government.”

Chinese state-backed publication, Global Times, citing a professor from the China Foreign Affairs University, accused the U.S. of hyping up fears of China and a “blatant distortion” on how Chinese authorities enforce the country’s laws. Global Times is a tabloid under the People’s Daily, which is the official newspaper of the Communist Party of China. 

The report said foreigners will only be arrested on “solid evidence of illegal acts” and not “just for a few critical comments.”

Relations between the U.S. and China have been at their worst in decades. But the U.S. is not alone in warning its citizens of the potential risk that laws may be arbitrarily applied within Chinese territory.

Last week, Australia advised its citizens not to travel to Hong Kong, and to reconsider their need to remain in the city, due to uncertainties surrounding the new national security law there. Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China.

Source link

Continue Reading

World

What going back to work in an office will be like after lockdown

Published

on

Social distancing and masks may become commonplace in offices when coronavirus lockdowns ease.

Miodrag Ignjatovic | Getty Images

What will it be like to go back to the office when countries start to loosen their lockdowns?

Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, Tuomas Peltoniemi was used to traveling to China, Japan and Australia for up to 100 days a year in his role as executive vice-president and managing director for the Asia-Pacific region at ad agency R/GA. But since lockdowns started during the Lunar New Year in January, he’s been based in his family home in Singapore.

And since March, when R/GA’s Shanghai office re-opened (complete with temperature checks, hand sanitizer, masks and extra cleaning), Peltoniemi has been devising plans for how some of the company’s other employees can go back to their regular workplaces for when shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted.

“I’m looking at it more from a perspective of, you know, what is truly and genuinely the role of the office space? … What are the expectations from people from working from an office space and working from wherever they choose to work from? … This return to (a) new normal, if you want to call it that, is not a linear, absolute date,” Peltoniemi told CNBC by phone.

When reopening in Shanghai, R/GA was flexible with how staff chose to go back, given that some of them had returned to family homes elsewhere in China or overseas for the New Year celebrations and may have felt uneasy about traveling. “A lot of the issues don’t so much come from the virus itself, it comes from the fear and uncertainty. Especially in Shanghai, there was no precedent for it,” Peltoniemi stated.

Research from jobs website Totaljobs suggests that, in the U.K. at least, people are keen to get back to their workplaces, with 54% wanting to do so by the end of June. The survey of nearly 7,000 people was conducted online between May 12 to May 15.

Masked meetings

Masks have been mandated by some governments for people on public transport, but don’t expect to see people wearing them in the workplace long term, says Sean McEvoy, a director at interior fit-out contractor Portview.

“It’s not a natural thing for us to run around with masks and gloves … the solution has to be in the space,” he told CNBC by phone.

Businesses may run in shifts, or only have people come to their workplace three days a week. Perspex screens might divide desks and boardroom tables might make way for socially-distanced podiums, McEvoy suggested.

A computer-generated image from interiors contractor Portview shows how office space may be segregated as people go back to the workplace after the coronavirus lockdowns are eased.

Portview

For Leo Curtis, a product marketing manager at Lenovo in Beijing, returning to the office in March felt “refreshing.”

“When I first went back, I was hesitant, but it is a nice thing to have a collective place to see your colleagues and have a face to face — mask to mask — meeting on some things,” he told CNBC by email.

To manage childcare, Curtis is now working from home much more than before the pandemic. “That’s a difficult adjustment — managing distractions and spotty internet connections,” but it’s made easier by communicating on WeChat for any quick issues, Curtis stated.

Office space

The need for office space may reduce, but we’re not going to see flagship buildings turn residential any time soon, according to Patrick Plant, real estate partner at law firm Linklaters.

“I don’t think we’ll suddenly see (London skyscraper) The Shard suddenly becoming a block of apartments from top to bottom, or anything of that kind,” he told CNBC by phone.

But, how offices have adapted will be up for comparison, he suggested. “Peers and contemporaries I’m sure will be comparing notes about what their organization has done or maybe what it hasn’t done … I’m a great believer in the physical space being very much a physical manifestation of the culture of an organization,” Plant said.

Eliot Wilson, head of research at reputation management company Right Angles sees more meetings happening at members’ clubs and says having premises in the U.K. capital is “hard to justify” given their cost.

“Banter with colleagues — that ‘watercooler culture’ — is a nice-to-have, but once you put a cold, hard monetary value on it, I don’t think it stacks up,” he told CNBC by email.

Technology may go some way to providing virtual watercooler moments. Panion is an internal social media platform for businesses, and CEO and founder Melanie Aronson said employees used it to form support groups and find others with similar interests during lockdowns.

Since January, it has seen an 86.7% increase in unique users joining hangouts it calls “gatherings,” for example.

Employee social media app Panion saw a rise in usage during lockdowns caused by the coronavirus.

Panion

Only a quarter of staff will be allowed into the London office of ad agency M&C Saatchi at a time — and on a voluntary basis.

CEO Camilla Kemp hopes that flexible working will attract a more diverse range of people. “We will open up the doors of talent too — making us a more inclusive environment for more talent who otherwise might not have considered a career with us, because they couldn’t physically be ‘in the office’ at conventional working hours,” she told CNBC.

For Peltoniemi at R/GA, life is never likely to be the same again. “I think the nine to five … it’s kind of out of the question now, actually. We did a global work from home survey for our staff and 95% of our global staff feel like they’ve been able to connect and do work at or above the levels that they had been in the past, during the course of the pandemic.”

And while the streets of a city such as Shanghai appear “normal” again, people’s mindset has shifted, Peltoniemi said.

“I was speaking to our leadership team and one of them said it feels like Covid never happened when you walk around Shanghai … When you speak to people more, so much has changed, actually.”

Employees are eating better, taking fitness classes and drinking less alcohol, and they are keen to make their working days more efficient, Peltoniemi said.

“Now that the sort of freedom of doing what we want was taken away from the teams, albeit for a short period of time, it’s almost opened up people’s eyes and minds to, there is more I need to consider than just work and the office life,” he added.

Source link

Continue Reading

World

Kevin Rudd says China stepping into coronavirus leadership vacuum

Published

on

The global leadership vacuum during the coronavirus crisis is an “open door” for China to walk through, said Kevin Rudd, president of the Asia Society Policy Institute.

The former Australian prime minister said the U.S. has presented an opportunity for Beijing to seize global leadership during the pandemic.

From China’s perspective, looking “at the debacle of the U.S. domestic management of Covid-19 and the failure of the U.S. to provide global leadership and response to what is a global public health and economic crisis, then it’s very difficult sitting in Beijing not to identify a leadership vacuum and to walk right into it,” Rudd told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday.

That also comes as the U.S. is criticizing and walking away from allies and multilateral institutions like the World Trade Organization and the World Health Organization, said Rudd, who is also a longtime China scholar.

“From Beijing’s perspective, this represents an open door and the Chinese — opportunistically or otherwise — they walk straight in,” he said.

The developments are due to changes in China’s foreign policy under President Xi Jinping’s leadership, said Rudd, who said the shifts started toward the end of 2013.

Since then, China’s outspoken, assertive foreign policy turn has been ruffling feathers globally as countries are reacting to the change to the status quo ante, said Rudd.

“I know very few governments in the world who are currently not going through structural difficulties, mounting structural difficulties in their relationships with China,” he said.

Other than Australia, China’s traditionally strong trading and economic partners such as CanadaIndia, Japan and the U.K. are also facing issues in their ties with the East Asian country.

“The old days of hide your strength, bide your time, never take the lead — that was when China was a weaker power, now that China has more power, ‘we now intend to be much more assertive about our interests and values in the world,'” he said.

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending