Sainsbury’s-Asda merger, Huawei, gig economy workers: your commercial news round-up

updated on 25 April 2019

Climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion will conclude their fortnight of creative disruption this afternoon, but not before several protestors glued themselves to the entrance of the London Stock Exchange. Fortunately, law students don’t need to take such drastic measures in order to improve their commercial awareness – just take a look at our round-up of this week’s business news stories:

  • The proposed merger between Sainsbury’s and Asda has officially been called off after the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the deal, declaring that it would raise prices for consumers. Talks have been taking place for months as the supermarkets claimed they would be able to cut costs and pass on £1 billion worth of savings to customers if they joined forces. Sainsbury’s and Asda bosses both expressed their disappointment at the news.
  • Huawei has been given the green light by the government to roll out the UK’s new 5G data network, despite the US urging its allies to boycott the Chinese firm. Dubbed the world’s most controversial company, Huawei has been accused of spying on Western nations for the Chinese government but it has always denied these claims. Last year Australia sided with the US by banning Huawei from forming a part of its 5G network. Cyber officials in the UK say that the firm will supply equipment to limited parts of the UK’s network and that a framework would be put in place to ensure it was “sufficiently safe”.
  • Gig economy workers will have new protection for work cancelled last minute as the European Parliament has approved minimum rights for workers such as Uber drivers and Deliveroo riders. Under the new regulations, ‘exclusivity clauses’ that ban workers from taking other jobs will also be banned and bosses will be made to pay workers for mandatory training. The rules will apply to everyone who works at least three hours a week and are aimed at improving the rights of those who work for companies who have previously argued that their workers are self-employed and therefore not eligible for the benefits of employees.
  • And finally some good environmental news on a day where it was reported that thousands of emperor penguin chicks drowned due to collapsing sea-ice: Britain has broken its record for generating electricity without coal for the longest continuous period with the country running for more than 90 hours ending on Easter Monday. The government is aiming to phase out coal power by 2025.

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