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  1. ultrahub

    Should we be worried ...

    ... or is it just me?
  2. Some abstainers are trying to save cashiers' jobs, but they're battling automation Tom and Peggy Eburne of Chilliwack, B.C., say the main reason they don't use self-checkouts is to save cashiers' jobs Tom Eburne and his wife, Peggy, are self-checkout virgins. They refuse to use the machines, determined to keep cashiers employed. "We will resist as long as we can," said Tom Eburne, who lives in Chilliwack, B.C. "I think any job loss is a step backwards." A new Dalhousie University grocery shopping study found that out of 1,053 Canadians surveyed in October, slightly more than one-quarter said they never use self-checkout at the grocery store — not even for a small purchase. A new Dalhousie University grocery shopping study found that 26.7 per cent of respondents said they never use self-checkout at the grocery store. Last week, CBC News reported on the survey's findings that more than half of respondents only use the machines occasionally. The poll's margin of error is 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The story unleashed a flood of comments. Although the survey didn't investigate shoppers' motivations, many self-checkout abstainers informed CBC News that their main mission is to keep cashiers employed. However, in the age of automation, these people face an uphill battle. Dan Morris, of Brockville, Ont., says he always avoids self-checkout at stores. Dan Morris in Brockville, Ont., says he always opts for a cashier, and is wary about the growth of self-checkout in stores. "They're trying to basically herd everyone in, get everyone used to the self-checkouts to continuously cut down on staff," he said. "Machines don't pay taxes, they don't pay into the pension plan." The self-checkout resistance has even sparked petitions and memes on Facebook. A widely shared Canadian meme tells shoppers to "never use a self checkout" because "they kill jobs." Can't stop automation But as technology advances, it may get harder to opt for the cashier line. According to the World Economic Forum's 2018 Future of Jobs report, cashier jobs, along with occupations such as bank teller and payroll clerk, are "expected to become increasingly redundant" over the next four years. The reason: these "routine-based" jobs are more susceptible to being replaced by advancing technologies. Retailers are also apt to buy in because technologies that automate jobs cut labour costs. "To kind of cling to an old model just because it involves workers is not something that companies and others are set up to do," said Sean Mullin, executive director of the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University in Toronto. Over the past year and a half, grocer Metro and retail giant Loblaw announced they would increase their self-checkouts in select stores to help offset minimum wage increases in some provinces. Along with rising labour costs, physical retailers also face stiff competition from online shopping sites. The brick-and-mortar landscape is already riddled with casualties such as the now defunct Sears Canada and Toys "R" Us in the U.S. A cashier-less future? Many major retailers offer a mix of cashiers and self-checkout machines, but that could shift as some experiment with a cashier-less format. Last month, Walmart opened its first Sam's Club Now in Texas, a cashier-less store where shoppers can only buy items using an app that scans purchases on their mobile phone. The store still has employees, called "member hosts," who offer in-store assistance. Meanwhile, Amazon is expanding its cashier-less concept — Amazon Go. In this physical store, customers take what they want and walk out, thanks to technology that detects when products are removed from store shelves. Customers are billed via their Amazon accounts. Amazon has opened only seven locations in the U.S. so far, but if the retailer widely expands its concept, other companies will likely have to offer something similar to compete. "It'll be hard for companies to not adopt this type of technology," said Mullin. Other jobs will appear But it's not supposed to be all doom and gloom. Historically, when technological innovations make certain jobs obsolete, they often generate new types of positions. The World Economic Forum estimates that by 2022, 75 million jobs worldwide may be lost due to automation. However, it suggests that they could be more than offset by the emergence of 133 million new jobs. But the question remains what type of jobs will emerge and if workers in less-skilled occupations can make the transition. "There's people that are maybe 60-plus years old. They don't have the skills or the time to really retrain themselves," said Morris. Amazon Go currently needs to fill more than 300 positions — but many of them involve high-tech skills such as software development. To adapt to the effects of automation, the World Economic Forum says businesses and governments will need to adopt "proactive, strategic and targeted efforts" to help redeploy workers. "The challenge will be the transition," said Mullin. Back in Chilliwack, the Eburnes acknowledge resistance may be futile in their campaign to abstain from self-checkout to protect cashier jobs. Nevertheless, they say they'll keep up their efforts — on principle. "Maybe the little bit we do makes no difference at all," said Peggy Eburne. "But we like to stand by what we believe in." Source
  3. TORONTO -- Amazon says it plans to create 600 new tech jobs in Toronto. The online retail behemoth says the jobs will be in fields including software development, machine learning and cloud computing. The announcement comes as Amazon is expanding its office in Toronto's downtown core. The city was on the short list to host the company's highly coveted second headquarters, but eventually lost out to New York City and Arlington, Va. Had the Toronto region won that bid, it would have landed 50,000 Amazon jobs. Source
  4. FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Ford said on Thursday it will cut thousands of jobs, look at plant closures and discontinue loss-making vehicle lines as part of a turnaround effort aimed at achieving a 6 percent operating margin in Europe. Ford Europe has been losing money for years and pressure to restructure its operations has increased since arch-rival General Motors raised profits by selling its European Opel and Vauxhall brands to France’s Peugeot SA. Ford said it will seek to exit the multivan segment and focus on developing more profitable “crossover” and sports utility vehicles, and will stop manufacturing automatic transmissions in Bordeaux in August. It will also review its operations in Russia, and combine the headquarters of Ford U.K. and Ford Credit to a site in Dunton, Essex. “We are taking decisive action to transform the Ford business in Europe,” Steven Armstrong, group vice president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in a statement. “We want to be a net contributor of capital and not a net detractor,” Armstrong told journalists on a later call, referring to Europe’s financial contribution to U.S. parent Ford Motor. Asked whether the revamp could include plant closures in Europe, Armstrong said: “A review of the manufacturing footprint is part of this process.” Ford’s announcement on layoffs came as Britain’s biggest carmaker Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is also set to announce “substantial” job cuts, a source told Reuters. Armstrong said any layoffs and plant closures at Ford would be subject to the outcome of formal negotiations with labor representatives, adding that he hoped that job cuts could be achieved by “voluntary means”. Unite, Britain’s biggest trade union said it was engaging with Ford in an effort to safeguard jobs. The cost-cutting plan has not been adjusted to account for the possibility of a ‘hard’ exit by Britain from the European Union without securing tariff-free cross-border trade, Armstrong said. “If Brexit went in the wrong direction we would have to have another look, to mitigate that,” Armstrong said. A Ford spokesman said the carmaker currently assumes that any Brexit deal would keep tariff-free trade between Britain and Europe. Ford Europe, which employs 53,000 people, has struggled to turn a profit, reporting a 245 million euro ($282 million) loss before interest and taxes in the third quarter, equivalent to a negative 3.3 percent EBIT margin. Armstrong declined to quantify the job cuts, pending negotiations with labor leaders, but said they would run into the thousands. The company was in negotiations with worker representatives about potential cuts at its Saarlouis plant in Germany, where 6,190 staff assemble cars, as the carmaker considers discontinuing production of its Ford C-Max model. “We will migrate out of the MPV segment,” Armstrong said, referring to the family vans segment. The company is unlikely to develop next-generation diesel engines for smaller vehicles, Armstrong said, explaining that customers have been abandoning the segment more aggressively than anticipated. Going forward Ford will seek to offer an electric or hybrid version of all its vehicles and the electrification plans are not contingent on striking a deal with Volkswagen, Armstrong said. The carmaker continues talks about a far-reaching alliance with Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) in a deal that could increase Ford’s manufacturing scale in commercial vehicles, Armstrong said. Volkswagen and Ford will unveil an expanded alliance during the Detroit auto show, which starts next week, that goes beyond cooperating in the area of commercial vehicles, two sources familiar with the discussions said on Wednesday. Source
  5. DUBLIN (Reuters) - Microsoft’s Linkedin, a social network for professionals, on Thursday said it would add 800 new jobs to its European headquarters in Dublin, the latest technology company to boost its presence in Ireland. The move underscores signs that hiring in Ireland remains robust despite neighboring Britain’s planned departure from the Europe Union and a slowdown in global economic growth. Foreign companies account for around one in 10 jobs among Ireland’s more than two million workers, benefiting from a corporate tax rate of just 12.5%. The European Commission in August 2016 ordered Ireland to recover 13 billion euros from Apple because of an illegal tax deal which gave the company an unfair advantage in breach of the bloc’s state aid rules. But the ruling has done little to slow the flow of multinational jobs into Ireland, with the amount of new roles growing at a record pace last year. Facebook said in January that it would hire 1,000 more people in Dublin this year. U.S. cloud software maker Salesforce has also said it planned to add 1,500 jobs over the next five years, one of the largest job commitments in the 70-year history of the state’s foreign investment agency. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Linkedin, which has more than 630 million members around the world, said the new employees will be based at a new 150,000 square foot development in central Dublin due for completion toward the end of next year. Source
  6. PARIS (Reuters) - U.S. online retail giant Amazon said on Tuesday it will create 1,800 permanent contract positions this year in France, its largest European market after Britain and Germany, although furniture retailer Conforama went the other way in cutting jobs. The increase will bring Amazon’s total number of permanent staff to 9,300 by end 2019 and reflects the group’s commitment to the French market where it has invested over 2 billion euros ($2.26 billion) since 2010, the statement said. Amazon’s plan comes as Conforama, the French unit of South African retailer Steinhoff (SNHJ.J) which is in the midst of a financial restructuring, plans to cut 1,900 jobs in France. Deputy finance minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told Sud Radio that “traditional retail faces a very deep transformation. It is true that the coincidence of these two figures - 1,800 hires at Amazon and 1,900 job cuts at Conforama - reflects this transformation.” She said the French government will be “extremely vigilant” regarding Conforama and would look to limit its impact. Amazon has been expanding steadily in France where it has 20 sites, including six logistics centers, the most recent slated to open over summer in Bretigny-Sur-Orge near Paris. Amazon is the e-commerce leader in France with a market share of 17.3 percent, but its grocery market share stands at just 2 percent, according to Kantar data. The U.S. group, which has run its Amazon Prime express delivery service in Paris since 2016, has made no secret of its desire to launch a grocery delivery service in France as part of its ambitions to expand in food retail. In April, it expanded its partnership with French food retailer Casino with Amazon installing pick-up lockers in Casino stores and making more of the French company’s products available on Amazon. Source
  7. FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Ford (F.N) said it will cut 12,000 jobs in Europe by 2020 to return its business back to profit. FILE PHOTO: A view of the Ford engine plant at Bridgend, Wales, Britain Ford said it has ceased production at three plants in Russia, is closing plants in France and Wales, and has cut shifts at factories in Valencia, Spain and Saarlouis, Germany. Approximately 12,000 jobs will be impacted at Ford’s wholly owned facilities and consolidated joint ventures in Europe by the end of 2020, primarily through voluntary separation programs. The challenge of investing in electric, hybrid and autonomous vehicles while having to overhaul combustion engines to meet new clean-air rules, has forced Europe’s carmakers to slash fixed costs and streamline their model portfolios. Source
  8. Round of devastating job cuts are deepest since the telecom giant said it would create jobs after the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act NATIONWIDE — AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) plans to cut 1,880 American jobs over the next few months, continuing a pattern of drastic cuts to family-supporting jobs in communities across the country. The company began notifying employees that their jobs are at risk right before Father’s Day weekend, forcing thousands of working dads and families to spend the holiday figuring out what to do now that they are facing the loss of their paychecks. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was one of the most fervent proponents of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) and said AT&T would use its tax dollars to create at least 7,000 jobs. But since the tax bill passed, the company has been aggressively eliminating tens of thousands of jobs. Meanwhile, AT&T has received a $21 billion windfall from the TCJA, slashed capital investments by $1.4 billion, given hefty pay increases to top executives and did not pay cash income taxes in 2018. These new cuts come just days after the Communications Workers of America (CWA) issued a series of reports showing AT&T’s network in the Midwest is in disrepair even as it is reducing the number of trained, career employees. “Instead of celebrating with my children on Father’s Day, I had to tell them that their dad may not have a job soon,” said Todd Menth, a father of two facing a job cut in Kent, Ohio. “I’ve worked hard at AT&T for nineteen years and I’m proud of my work. My message to AT&T is that it’s not too late to change course, to invest in next-generation networks and keep these good jobs in our community.” The job cut notifications began last Thursday, impacting technicians in the following states: Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wisconsin. The workers, members of CWA, are in a long-standing battle with the company to ensure that AT&T’s tax windfall is used as promised to create jobs and increase wages. Over 14,000 members of CWA in the Midwest, Puerto Rico and in AT&T’s national Legacy T unit are in contract negotiations with AT&T, and another 22,000 in the Southeast will begin negotiations this summer. In addition to this round of cuts, a CWA analysis from May 2019 showed the company has eliminated 23,328 jobs since the TCJA passed in late 2017, including nearly 6,000 in the first quarter of 2019. At the same time, the company continues to send work to low-wage contractors and overseas. AT&T has closed 44 call centers and eliminated 16,000 call center jobs in the last seven years, with the Midwest region being one of the hardest hit. Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, where AT&T workers worked tirelessly to rebuild the AT&T network and help customers after Hurricane Maria, the company is refusing to ensure its two Puerto Rican call centers will stay open. Instead, AT&T recently opened Spanish-language call centers in Mexico that serve the U.S. market. “Hurricane Maria wreaked havoc on Puerto Rico, and the AT&T workers here played a critical role in making sure people could reach their loved ones,” said Daniel Borrero, an AT&T Mobility customer care representative in Puerto Rico. “Instead of acknowledging our dedication and investing in American jobs in the commonwealth, AT&T seems to be directing Spanish-language work to other countries. After today’s news about major job cuts, Puerto Rican workers like me are worried we’re next.” AT&T responds to criticism of its massive job cuts with boasts about hiring and by saying that workers have the option to relocate. But AT&T workers and their union note that hiring to address turnover is not the same as job creation, and relocation options are often hundreds of miles away from workers’ homes and families in communities with dramatically higher costs of living, making relocation unviable for the majority of employees. The facts in AT&T’s own reports are clear—they have 23,000 fewer people on their payroll than they did at the beginning of 2018. CWA has been leading the charge to hold AT&T accountable to the jobs promises the company made as part of its effort to pass the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. In March, CWA President Chris Shelton testified in front of the House Ways and Means Committee about the impact of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act on American workers, and called on Congress to probe AT&T on how it is spending its tax cut money, saying: “You may ask ‘what is AT&T doing with this money if it’s not being used to create jobs and invest in the U.S.?’ We’d like to know as well.” Economists too have been weighing in on how big employers like AT&T are using their increased profits from the tax windfall: “The strongest claim made by proponents of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was that it would trickle down to aid working families by boosting wages,” said Josh Bivens, director of research at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). “This was never a convincing claim and we can see now just how cynical it was all along: after lobbying fiercely for a corporate tax cut that put literally billions in their coffers, AT&T is fighting tooth and nail to make sure that they don’t have to share any of this new profitability with their workers by committing to invest in good jobs.” Source
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