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iTEC packing rescued out of administration saving 78 jobs

Alpla UK

78 jobs have been saved following the acquisition of Mansfield-based iTEC Packing, a food packaging business, by global packaging company Alpla UK.

iTEC Packing specializes in producing tops for plastic bottles, as well as containers and tubs primarily for the dairy industry, along with other food and beverage sectors.

The purchase was facilitated by FRP Advisory, a team appointed as joint administrators in April after iTEC faced financial challenges due to difficult trading conditions.

Read More: Tillery Valley Foods enters administration resulting in 230 job losses

All existing staff members are expected to transition to the new owner as a result of the sale.

Recent financial records indicate iTEC Packing’s Mansfield operation achieved a turnover of £27 million in 2021, with losses amounting to approximately £1.5 million.

 Last month, over 100 jobs were safeguarded when another iTEC operation in Chester-le-Street was successfully sold to Shalam Thermoforming (UK).

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Alpla, a global packaging giant, operates in 46 countries with 190 sites and employs approximately 23,300 individuals.

The company specializes in manufacturing plastic packaging for various industries, including food and beverages, cosmetics, household cleaning products, pharmaceuticals, and more. Alpla also has recycling facilities across several countries and has plans for further expansion.

Jens Seifried, managing director of Alpla UK, told BusinessLive: “With the acquisition of the iTEC Packaging (Mansfield) business, the global packaging and recycling specialist Alpla is expanding its expertise as a packaging system provider in the UK market.

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“The plant in Mansfield manufactures closures for dairy bottles which are made from HDPE using compression moulding and injection moulding processes.

“With our global know-how, with this acquisition, we can increasingly offer the UK dairy industry sustainable, efficient and innovative packaging solutions.”

Joint administer Martyn Rickels said: “iTEC Packaging was a long-established business and player in the dairy supply chain so we’re delighted to have secured a new buyer.

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“Alongside the transaction to sell the sister business in Chester-Le-Street, this has helped save nearly 200 jobs in a short space of time, as well as protecting the customer base with ongoing production.

“We wish Alpla UK and its team every success as they take the business forward.”

James Cameron, Samantha Latham, Samantha Poulton and Faith James of Pinsent Masons provided legal advice to FRP Advisory

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Amazon settles Ring surveillance and children’s data case


Amazon has agreed to pay $30.8 million to settle complaints involving its Ring video doorbell unit and the retention of children’s Alexa voice recordings. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleged an employee at Ring accessed thousands of video recordings of female users, including intimate spaces within their homes. 

The FTC also stated Ring failed to implement security measures to protect consumer information from hacking attacks. 

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As part of the settlement, Amazon will pay $5.8 million for the Ring complaint and $25 million for violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

In response to the settlement, Amazon denied violating the law but agreed to minor modifications to its practices. 

It said it would remove inactive child profiles and will no longer retain voice recordings and geolocation data for an extended period unless requested by parents or guardians. 

While Amazon disagrees with the FTC’s claims, it intends to put these matters behind it and move forward.

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The FTC commissioners highlighted the importance of companies properly handling data, particularly in the context of machine learning and artificial intelligence. 

The settlements aim to send a message breaking the law cannot be justified by technological advancements.

Under the terms of the settlements, Amazon must delete inactive child accounts, certain voice recordings, and geolocation information. 

The company is also prohibited from using this data to train its algorithms or enhance its products. 

Additionally, Amazon must implement a new privacy and security program for Ring, including multifactor authentication for employees and customers.

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Approval by a federal judge is necessary for both settlements to take effect. 

Ring, acquired by Amazon in 2018, sells internet-connected home-security cameras and related services, promoting enhanced home security and peace of mind. 

The FTC complaint alleges Ring deceived customers by allowing unauthorized access to video recordings and failing to adopt standard security measures.

The settlements remind companies to prioritize data protection and privacy, especially as technological advancements accelerate.

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Netflix shareholders vote against lucrative executive pay packages


Netflix shareholders have voted against proposed pay packages for the company’s top executives, including co-chief executives Ted Sarandos and Greg Peters. 

Although the vote is nonbinding, it highlights growing discontent among shareholders

The decision comes shortly after the Writers Guild of America publicly urged shareholders to reject the compensation plans as a strike continues.

Read More: Striking Writers Guild presses Comcast and Netflix shareholders to waive massive executive pay

Sarandos’s proposed pay package 2023 could amount to $40 million, combining base salary, performance bonuses, and stock options. 

Peters, who assumed the role of co-chief executive in January, is set to receive up to $34.6 million.

However, former CEO Reed Hastings, now executive chairman, is expected to earn $3 million this year.

The shareholders voted during the company’s annual meeting, which coincided with the fifth week of the writers’ strike. 

No public comments were made during the brief meeting. 

Read More: Hollywood writers start strike after negotiation breakdown with studios

In a letter to shareholders, Meredith Stiehm, President of the Writers Guild of America’s Western branch, criticized the compensation plans.

He argued if Netflix could afford such hefty executive pay, it should also adequately compensate its writers, estimating an annual sum of $68 million.

Netflix played a pivotal role in the rise of the streaming industry, transforming the entertainment landscape and compensation structures. 

However, writers claim while the industry has experienced a surge in production, their wages have remained stagnant, and working conditions have deteriorated.

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This is not the first time Netflix shareholders have rejected executive compensation. 

Last year, a “Say on Pay” proposal was turned down, prompting discussions between the company and major shareholders. 

Netflix adjusted its 2023 pay program, including salary caps of $3 million, a requirement for at least 50 percent of compensation to be tied to stock options, and the introduction of performance-based cash bonuses.

Netflix has not commented on when the board will address the pay packages, leaving the writers’ strike ongoing. 

The outcome of future discussions between the board and shareholders remains unclear.

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Tesco staff to protest against automated checkouts


Tesco staff have announced their plans to protest during the company’s upcoming AGM at its Welwyn Garden City headquarters.

The demonstration is scheduled to take place in two weeks’ time, on Friday, June 16th at 10am, near the Welwyn Garden City train station, which serves as a transportation hub for shareholders attending the AGM.

Organizers have deliberately chosen this location to allow for effective lobbying of shareholders before the meeting.

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The demonstration aims to raise concerns about the automation trend and its impact on job security.

Last year, Tesco made the decision to remove a significant number of manned checkouts in its larger stores, favoring self-service alternatives.

The protest follows the launch of a petition last month opposing the shift towards automation and has already gathered over 240,000 signatures.

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 In addition to the demonstration, the protesters plan to distribute leaflets to shareholders, ensuring their concerns are heard and their presence felt.

An organizer said: “The implementation of automated checkouts is resulting in job losses, alienating many individuals, and transforming our shopping experiences into self-service, card-only transactions.

“This does not align with the preferences of tens of thousands of people.”

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US job openings surge fuels speculation of interest rate hike

Federal Reserve

Job vacancies at US employers reached a three-month high in April, totaling 10.1 million, according to the Labor Department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). 

The figure exceeded economists’ expectations, who had estimated 9.4 million openings. 

This surge in job openings provides the Federal Reserve with more incentive to consider raising interest rates once again.

The figure has risen from 9.75 million, an increase of around 358,000.

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Philadelphia Fed President Patrick said: “I am in the camp increasingly coming into this meeting thinking that we really should skip, not pause, but skip an increase [in interest rates].”

Harker’s statement came during a discussion hosted by the OMFIF Economic and Monetary Policy Institute.

The increase in job vacancies was led by retail , where there were an additional 209,000 openings.

There were 185,000 more jobs in healthcare and social assistance, while vacancies leapt by 154,000 in the transportation, warehousing, and utilities sector.

Considerable rises were also reported in construction as well as finance and insurance industries.

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More workers are also staying put.

Workers are growing less confident, leading to fewer resignations.

The “quits rate”, which is viewed as a measure of labor market confidence, fell to 2.4 percent from 2.5 percent in March.

The amount of layoffs also fell considerably, dropping 264,000 to 1.6 million – a sign firms may be looking to keep their existing staff.

Alex McDowell, WhatJobs’ Global Partnership Director, said: “The figures show job seekers in America have a great deal of choice if they do choose to move on.

Read More: How to enter the job market during an economic downturn

“However, it’s clear workers are showing some caution towards handing in their resignations as demonstrated by the ‘quit rate.’

“The drop in the number of layoffs also gives an indication that firms are looking to keep their existing workforce, which is a good thing for workers and their job security.”

With the US technology-heavy Nasdaq 100 Index experiencing a 31 percent surge this year, market strategists hold conflicting opinions regarding the potential overcrowding of investor positions and its impact on the rally. 

Julia Pollak, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, told Reuters: “This suggests that the labor market is slackening, despite the reported increase in job openings, and that workers are increasingly sheltering in place in their jobs as better alternatives become less available.”

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Meanwhile, in the oil market, West Texas Intermediate prices remained lower as investors digested diverging economic outlooks from the US. 

The market saw a fluctuation within a $2 range on Wednesday, with job opening data revealing an unexpected surge and resilient labor demand despite tighter financial conditions.

These developments in job openings and market dynamics will likely influence the Federal Reserve’s decision-making regarding interest rate adjustments and economic outlooks.

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May 2023 layoffs: Wall Street and tech industries saw significant job reductions

Wall Street

The layoff wave that began last year is still rippling worldwide, although the volume has been waning over the past two months.

According to data from, the US tech sector has been particularly affected, with a staggering 200,000 job losses since the beginning of 2023.

This year has surpassed 2022 regarding global tech redundancies, with 718 tech employers cutting 200,039 employees so far.

Read More: Goldman Sachs prepares for third batch of layoffs as deals decline

Despite the layoffs, there has been an uptick in hiring, as evidenced by adding 253,000 jobs in April alone, leading to a record-low unemployment rate of 3.4 percent, the lowest in 54 years.

Several tech companies have announced layoffs recently, including Mark Zuckerberg’s hint at another round of job cuts at Facebook, which materialized in May, focusing on its business divisions.

Other notable tech companies like Shopify, LinkedIn, Lyft, and Intel have also reduced their workforce to streamline operations and cut costs.

In another global move, Volvo eliminated over a thousand jobs in Sweden to address economic challenges, while UK giants BT and Vodafone carried out significant layoffs affecting tens of thousands of employees.

Read More: BT will cut 55,000 jobs and replace them with AI

Even Wall Street is not immune to job cuts, as Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, and Goldman Sachs have announced staff downsizing due to the drying up of deal-making opportunities amid concerns of multiple interest rate hikes and an impending recession.

Experts predict job cuts in the tech sector may persist in the foreseeable future as both large tech companies and startups grapple with ongoing economic uncertainties.

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Here’s who’s firing in April 2023.

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Walmart increases wages for Pharmacists and Opticians


Walmart is raising wages for 7,700 pharmacists and opticians to expand its health business and retain employees in a competitive market.

The hike will bring the average annual salary for affected pharmacists to over $140,000, while opticians can expect an average hourly wage of more than $22.50. 

However, the big box retailer did not disclose the current salary rate as it varies based on location and role. 

Read More: Walmart increases minimum wage for 340,000 US store workers

The move aims to align pay with industry standards, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a mean annual wage of $129,410 for pharmacists and a mean hourly wage of $21.58 for opticians.

Walmart plans to introduce a program allowing Vision Center associates to obtain certification and licensing for higher-paying positions. 

Brian Setzer, Walmart’s executive VP of health and wellness, said: “We’ve listened to our associates and taken their feedback about how their work environment needs to improve.”

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This year, the firm has been raising wages for workers throughout its business as part of its strategy to attract and retain talent in a competitive labor market. 

In January, it raised its minimum wage for store workers to $14 to $19 per hour, and it has consistently taken steps to improve compensation for its pharmacy technicians. 

However, the company’s average wage still falls behind competitors like Costco. 

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Walmart had previously reduced pharmacy hours in response to labor market challenges.

The healthcare industry is facing a shortage of pharmacists nationwide. 

Many pharmacy workers have experienced burnout and left the industry after the demanding battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts slower expansion in the industry compared to other sectors, with most job openings arising from the need to replace workers transitioning to different occupations or leaving the workforce.

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Call Centre staff at Firstsource in Derby at risk of redundancy


Hundreds of jobs at a call centre in Derby are reportedly at risk of redundancy, according to the staff at the facility.

DerbyshireLive has disclosed employees at the Firstsource office located on Riverside Road in Pride Park were informed about the likelihood of a significant number of job cuts.

The announcement came after the company’s major client, Sky, revealed its intention to reduce its phone-based customer service operations in favor of a digital system.

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Consequently, Sky plans to source the remaining phone staff internally or from India.

Firstsource, an Indian-owned company, currently employs approximately 600 people in Derby.

Despite the changes, the company is expected to maintain its working relationship with Sky.

 It is estimated around half of the Derby team, specifically those who handle calls from Sky customers will be affected by the proposed adjustments.

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In addition to the situation in Derby, BusinessLive recently reported approximately 500 Firstsource jobs in Northern Ireland could also be at risk.

In response to the developments, Firstsource issued a statement acknowledging the start of a redundancy consultation process at its Derby site.

The company explained that the evolving priorities of its client, Sky, necessitated proposals to modify the services currently being provided across both locations.

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Meta threatens to pull news in California over payment law


Meta is warning it will remove news from its platforms in California if a proposed law requiring technology platforms to pay publishers is passed. 

This move comes as governments worldwide consider similar legislation, and Meta is making its stance clear. 

The bill is scheduled for a vote on the California assembly floor and, if approved, will proceed to the state Senate. 

The deadline for passing bills this year in the legislature is September 14.

Read More: Meta fights back against FTC in privacy violation case

Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said: “If the Journalism Preservation Act passes, we will be forced to remove news from Facebook and Instagram rather than pay into a slush fund that primarily benefits big, out-of-state media companies under the guise of aiding California publishers.”

This action would prevent users in California from accessing, posting, or sharing news on these platforms. 

The potential passing of the California bill could influence a revision of a similar federal bill currently pending in Congress.

Under the provisions of the California bill, Meta and other major online platforms would be required to pay a “usage fee” to eligible news publishers

Read More: Mark Zuckerberg briefs employees on streamlining plans after Meta layoffs

The fee amount would be determined based on a percentage of the platform’s advertising revenue, established through an arbitration process defined by the bill. 

News publishers would then be obligated to allocate 70 percent of these fees to journalism personnel.

The California legislation aims to ensure publishers receive compensation corresponding to the value they bring to technology platforms. 

Unlike the federal bill, there is no limit on the size of publishers able to participate in the effort. 

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The federal bill, known as the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, enables US publishers to collectively negotiate payment from tech platforms without violating antitrust laws, but it does impose a cap on the size of participating publishers.

Meta’s threat to remove news content is challenging for publishers who rely heavily on platforms like Facebook and Google as they face economic difficulties and advertiser retrenchment. 

Meta has followed through on similar threats in the past, such as temporarily removing news from its Australian platform during legislative negotiations around the content payment. 

Ultimately, Facebook reinstated news in Australia through an agreement with the government, resulting in modified legislation.

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Amazon India celebrates 10th anniversary with exciting offers and new collaborations

Amazon India

Amazon India is set to mark its 10th anniversary in the country.

To commemorate the milestone on Monday, June 5, the online retailer has unveiled a series of enticing offers for its customers.

As part of the anniversary celebration, customers who make purchases on Amazon before or on June 5th will be eligible for a 10 percent cashback, with a maximum limit of Rs 250.

Read More: Amazon employees call for better flexibility in latest strike

This offer applies to transactions with a minimum value of Rs 1000.

Additionally, in a gesture of support for sellers, Amazon will waive 10 percent of the Sell on Amazon fees for all orders received on the same day.

In an exciting collaboration, Amazon is joining forces with renowned producer Ekta Kapoor to introduce an exclusive 10-episode series titled “Badtameez Dil” on Amazon miniTV.

This partnership aims to bring captivating and entertaining content to viewers through the platform.

Read More: Amazon to give term-time-only contracts for UK parents

Manish Tiwary, country manager, India Consumer Business, Amazon India told The Times of India: “As we celebrate 10 years of, I want to thank our customers, sellers, employees and partners for their support.

“It’s been an incredible journey of an Amazon made for India, in India. We are truly just getting started and remain committed to innovate for crores of customers and sellers.

“It is exciting that our pledges of digitizing 1 crore SMBs, enabling $20B in ecommerce exports & creating 20 lakh jobs by 2025 align with India’s vision of becoming a $1 trillion digital economy.”

As part of its product offerings, Amazon has introduced its latest Echo device, the Echo Pop, in the Indian market.

The Echo Pop boasts an innovative semi-sphere design and features a custom-designed front-facing speaker, ensuring exceptional audio quality with rich and clear sound output.

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Equipped with the advanced AZ2 Neural Edge processor, the Echo Pop promptly responds to requests made to Alexa, further enhancing its performance.

With these new offers, collaborations, and product launches, Amazon India looks forward to celebrating a decade of success and continuing its commitment to innovation and customer satisfaction in the Indian market.

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