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This is Business Live from BBC News with Ben Thompson
the French president unveils plans to reform the Labour market,
but can he silence the critics and push through crucial
Live from London, that's our top story
Mr Hollande wants to create more jobs by relaxing employment law.
But critics say the plan curtails the rights of workers.
We'll be live in Paris for the latest.
Also in the programme: Japanese corporate giant Mitsubishi
could slash its earnings forecasts over the fall in commodity prices.
Could it announce its first ever loss?
We'll be live in our Asia Business Hub for the answer.
And this is how the markets are looking, the arrows tell the story,
things are not too optimistic. And, it is the biggest taxi firm in
Europe, but Karen Addison Lee fend off the likes of Google?
And how much is too much when it comes to the sharing economy?
One firm now says it will rent you clothes to wear to work
for a monthly subscription fee.
And you just return them when you're done.
Let us know, use the hashtag #BBCBizLive.
Would you share your clothes? There is a question!
We start in France, where a fierce debate is raging over the length
of the working week and the rights of workers.
Bosses have long complained France's labour laws are far too restrictive
and deter them from creating new jobs.
Later today President Francois Hollande and his Labour Minister
will unveil their plan for a shake-up at a cabinet meeting.
In France the working week is capped by law at 35 hours -
it's the only country in Europe to do this.
So is France about to abandon its cherished 35-hour week?
The government wants to let bosses negotiate longer hours
They could ask them to work 48 hours, which is the official EU
limit, or even 60 in special cases - as long as the average is still 35
calculated over a three-month period.
Companies won't be able to impose flexible working
The idea is to make the law less rigid, but critics say the reforms
Still more big protests are expected today.
These were the scenes in Paris earlier this month when the reforms
And an online petition against them has gathered more
Since then, small companies have been excluded from the reforms,
which some argue are the very firms that need flexibility the most.
Lets join our correspondent in Paris who has been following the story for
us. It doesn't really sound like the reforms that are required, more like
a forge? Your explanation of the law was very
clear as far as it goes, but it is incredibly complicated. The law on
working hours is one part of a 53 clause -- one part of 53 clauses.
The bigger picture is it is intended to give greater fix ability to
companies because the government has decided that the last thing it has
at its disposal to tackle huge unemployment is opening up the
Labour markets, so it moves in that direction somewhat but not a huge
amount, and, as you say, the original intention has already been
greatly watered down after a wave of protest a couple of weeks ago. The
law was rewritten, some of the more pro-business clauses were taken out,
that satisfied some unions and some on the left but angered the business
community, so we are left with this new version, and it is far from
clear that it will satisfy everyone because there are more protests due
today, some of the unions are still calling for the whole thing to be
scrapped, small businesses are annoyed, they said that it is all
very well for big industries to work within these measures, but they need
far greater fix ability and, as you said before, it is the small
businesses which are the generators of jobs in Europe today. So, yes,
the general picture is that it does move in the direction of greater
flexibility but the idea that it is some big rewrite of French raider
law like Germany, Britain, Spain or Italy, it is just not the case.
As you say, unemployment in France remaining stubbornly high at around
10%, there is an election next year, and I believe Francois Hollande
stated that getting the employment rate down -- unemployment rate down
was key to him staying in the job?
He said within months of coming to power
that his whole political future rested, and he pledged on his
ability to bring down unemployment. He has not brought down
unemployment, 600,000 more jobless people now than there were five
years ago. The underlying number is 5 million
people if you include those who have some work but not enough and want
more work. The unemployment situation here is catastrophic. This
last plan of his two liberalise the Labour
it to create jobs is really his last throw of the dice. But the chances
of it having an effect in the years that remain --
in the year that remains for him are very small.
A 50-year-old Chinese man has pleaded guilty to being involved
in a plot to hack into the computer systems of US defence
Su Bin is believed to have been part of a group targeting data relating
to fighter jets, cargo aircraft and weapons.
The US Department of Justice said Mr Su sought "commercial gain"
from his actions, but stopped short of saying
the Chinese government was involved in buying the secrets.
Swiss drug company Novartis has agreed to pay more than $25 million
to the US government to settle civil charges that it bribed healthcare
professionals in China to boost sales.
Novartis settled without admitting or denying the allegations.
And Uber is suing its Indian rival, alleging that it created fake
accounts to interfere with its business. It is looking for millions
of dollars in damages. Lots of stories on the business Live
page, this caught my attention, and worrying story in The Times, an
interview with the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard
Hogan-Howe, who says banks should stop refunding victims of online
fraud will stop there is a huge debate about this at the moment in
the UK. It is the case that if you have online fraud in your bank
account you are immediately refunded by the bank.
The reference here is to the fact that consumers need to take more
responsibility for it, there is a suggestion that we just related to
the bank and tell them to pay us back because we have been a victim
of fraud, where is the warning is we need to be involved in taking
security, especially with finances security, especially with finances
and banking. Next is appearing on the Business
Live page, one of the main high street retailers in the UK, a
fashion retailer, basically saying it has had a pretty tough Christmas.
It was not a good festive season for them. A key period of time for any
high street retailer. That is the latest from them.
Corporate Japan is being hit by the slowdown in China, Mitsubishi
expected to announce its first annual loss since 1947.
Let's go to our Asia business hub. This is becoming a bit of a familiar
tale, which is a worry. Tell us about Mitsubishi.
Indeed, and even though it has been, I guess, a trend not just in Japan
but around the world, being hit by the sharp fall in commodity prices
as well as the slowdown in China, it comes as a shock to many people in
Japan because both Mitsubishi and Mitsui have been
around for a very long time, established names since before the
Second World War, and they have been making money until this year, a
report by one daily said that Mitsubishi was likely to have lost
some $900 million this year and the figure has not been confirmed by the
company but it has said that it is considering a downward revision to
its earnings forecast. Thanks, as always, from our Asia
business have. Let's show you the numbers.
Asian shares down on the session, energy stocks taking a hit.
The stronger dollar adding pressure to already struggling
Crude saw its biggest loss in six weeks after news that stockpiles
continue to grow - adding to that oversupply.
In the UK, within the hour, we'll get the latest retail data
for last month, expected to fall back after a strong start
That is why markets are looking a little bit like that, we will
discuss that in more detail. Joining us is Justin
Urquhart-Stewart from Nice to see you. I'm assuming today
volumes will be pretty light, we can see here we are all heading in the
wrong direction but we are going into a four daybreak for most major
markets around the world? Yes, it will be trading rather liked. You
have to be careful with markets these days because the number of
trades put through by participants could be small but the
high-frequency trades going on behind it will still be very large,
which can lead the market open to amazing volatility, which we haven't
seen in years gone by because in years gone by you had more
market-makers who acted as cushions for the volatility and the banks
themselves had their proprietary trading desks, they could trade
themselves, but those were gotten rid of by the regulator. Sharp moves
could be the order of the day? Even in low volumes. Boyle is volatile
again it doesn't need us to say it, but another fear for the market?
Yes, the two reasons, people have said their budgets against it, but
also when you have $30 oil going up to $40 oil, that sort of French, it
can be quite inflationary. Whereas at 110 dollars per barrel, going up
$10 is not inflationary at all. It is a coincidence that the US dollar
is strengthening, the Fed looking at when it is going to make a move on
rates? There is still a lot of demand with oil, but there is
oversupply because of what has happened. One of the greatest
mistakes made last year, people talk about China's slowing down, saying
they are not buying as much all, it was down 40%, but that was in
dollars. In the number of barrels it was up 10%. As far as we are
concerned, we have sterling, and it is looking about as strong as this
week and's weather, it will be extremely soggy indeed! I know you
will join us for the papers later, we will talk through some of the
stories them. Life in the fast lane,
or caught in congestion? What's it like running Europe's
biggest minicab company? Faced with competiton from rivals
like Uber and cities trying to get us to take more public transport,
we'll speak to the boss of minicab You're with Business
Live from BBC News. The high street giant Next has said
it faces the toughest year Next said it was bracing itself
for a slowdown in the global economy and for profits to fall by up
to 4.5% in a year that "may well be the toughest we have
faced since 2008". Victoria and Ben have swapped seats
today, it is like a merry-go-round! We will never meet, Victoria! They
are trying to keep as a part! I am the other woman! Victoria, tell
us about Next? Some of the figures are striking,
despite the fact that we saw profits and sales rise over the last year. I
want to read one more to you, this is fascinating, Lord Folsom, the
chief executive of Next, saying, it may well feel like walking up the
down escalator, he says, with a great deal of effort required just
to stand still. That encapsulate what is going on with the British
retail industry at the moment, and Next is seen as a bellwether of that
industry and a huge employer of people right across the country. One
of the major problems the Next is the erosion in the economics of its
best customers, its loyal customers that all have consumer credit. They
have seen a real decline, they have tried to stem it, though it is
continuing to fall. Let's listen to customer Gregor from Draper 's
magazine. A lot of their competitors in the online space are catching up
with them, they have a great catalogue, the Next directory, it
has been a strength, they were good at delivering to people, they had
the logistics in place, but now there are so many other people who
have caught up, offering next day delivery, they can have -- they do
not have that unique selling point any more, and the customer used to
be a higher spender, and another issue facing Next is they are now
not spending as much. They have a lot of issues facing them at the
moment. In April we will see a rise in the minimum wage, the new living
wage, which will increase their wage bill and result in a huge increase
in their costs, ?55 million over the next year, so some interesting
comments about our spending habits as well, spending more on leisure
and travel, that sort of thing, and far less on products, which will be
a problem for the retail industry. Thank you, as ever more detail on
that story and others online. Our top story; President Hollande
today unveils controversial plans He'll give his cabinet details
of moves to make the jobs Lots of people criticising it saying
it's watered down the rights of labourers.
We often take them for granted but taxis keep our cities moving.
But whilst getting someone from A to B sounds relatively
simple, it is the centre of a huge battle between taxis,
And our next guest knows all too well about that fierce competition.
Andy Boland is the boss of the global minicab
It's the biggest minicab company in Europe with a fleet
The company operates in 35 cities around the world.
The company started in London in 1975 and now carries more
than ten million passengers a year in the UK capital alone.
Andy Bolland, Chief Executive of Addison Lee, joins us now.
Thank you very much indeed for coming in. So many things to cover
in a short space of time because we all have our views and experiences
of taxis certainly in London. You have only been in the job two years,
is that right? Since the beginning of 20156789 Prior to that you were
with AA, the UK rescue company for cars that break down and what have
you? Yes. Since you have been in this job, what has been the biggest
challenge for you? Well, the market's a ?3 billion market. We are
going from strength to strength growing our business and the core
has been our business customers. We are becoming more relevant for
consumers as well so we have 300,000 people on our app and we are growing
our consumer business as well. The app is important because that's the
way much of this industry is going, it's changed hugely as a result of
technology. Talk me through the competition from the likes of Uber,
Lift and Halo, it must make it very difficult for you to compete because
there is now so much competition? Well, funnily enough we had the
first app in 2009 so Addison Lee's led the way from a tech perspective.
It's a market, a differentiated market and I think different
customers look for different things. With Addison Lee you get a very
high-quality service, you know who you are dealing with from a driver
perspective, it's a consistent product, they are always on time and
we know where we are going. We are looking at bus lanes. There's been a
row with local authorities about being able to use the bus lanes
because we know cities are congested. The likes of the black
cabs can use the bus lanes. How is the debate about ordinary cabs being
able to use the bus lane going? That's died down a bit over the last
few years. There's been a lot of change from a regulatory perspective
and Transport for London which is the regulator for us in London
who've now backed regulation issues which make the playing field a bit
more level for everybody. We like that. We like competition and
clarity in terms of that. Back to the competition, and back to the
likes of Uber which is a big competitor. You are more expensive
than Uber. So talk us through why I would choose to go with you and pay
more? For quality of service we provide, we are very good value for
money. We have reduced consumer prices to make them more accessible
to more people. We have seen a big increase in volume, about 40%, in
the last six weeks, so we are seeing that effect come through. Having
said that, if you want somebody you can talk to if you have a problem,
if you want drivers who really know where they are going, who have been
vetted, been through our training school and have a very consistent
product in terms of the vehicle, you know they're fully insure and can
pre-book a service and you know at 5 o'clock in the morning when you want
to take your family to the airport, you know Ad Lee will be there. The
business customers you mentioned at the beginning, talk me through the
response from business given everything that we have seen in
terms of many firms trying to Kuyt costs, trying to reduce overheads.
They are also aware they have to be more green so they are encouraging
more staff to take public transport rather than a cab from A to B. How
has that changed? We have got 17,000 business customers across London,
many of them small to medium sized enterprises, but we serve the London
economy from a business perspective. They really want a service that they
can rely on. Also, they want to consolidate their spend. There's a
lot of money being spent all over the place by the big business
customers and bringing it under one embrill la, we know how you are
spending your money and we can provide you with a really
competitive rate. People save money by doing that. It was the business
customers that helped you launch in New York. I assume that's a
difficult market? It's a very interesting market. Addison Lee is
unique. There is no Addison Lee in New York so we think it's a market
that we can really take advantage in. We have lots of big customers
here, the big investment banks who have operations in New York, we have
launched a business there, it's growing strongly up 40% this year
and there's a lot more to go there. Fascinating to have you on the
programme. Thank you very much indeed for coming in.
In China Premier Li Keqiang has been delivering his keynote speech
at the opening of the annual Boao Forum.
The event for top business leaders on the island of Hainan is often
Mr Li has been telling them that China must face up to its economic
problems and not resort to devaluing its currency
The BBC's Asia Business Correspondent Karishma Vaswani
This was clearly an attempt by China's peoplier Li to reassure the
financial community that China is aware of its economic problems and
has the ability to deal with them. He sought to address all the
concerns ranged by China recently, ranging from the slowdown in
economic growth to the volcanotity in China's currency, and whether
China can manage this stricky transition that it's currently
facing. He also talked about the fact that the world economy is going
through a turbulent patch and said that's having an impact on China's
fortunes too. TRANSLATION: Domestically, there are
deep-rooted problems and an increase in downward pressure on the economy.
In particular, we are experiencing some unavoidable and temporary
problems in the process of transformation and upgrading.
Premier Li stressed China has enough policy tools left to deal with the
risks the economy is now facing. He also addressed implicit worries that
Beijing is trying to manipulate the currency in an attempt to boost
exports by saying China won't violate market rules even if growth
rates fluctuate. This was very much about China putting on a good show
for the rest of the world. But the premier has made these sorts of
statements before and it's doubtful whether they'll be convincing enough
for those who still have concerns about China's economy.
Joining us again is Justin Urquhart-Stewart
Good to have you back. I know this story sands shiver down your spine
having worked in the City of London all of your career and it's
something you are passionate about how things have chained so much
since you started and this is the flash crash trader, losing his fight
against extradition to the United States. This allegedly caused the
2010 drop in the Dow? Yes. It was interesting, this is the long arm of
the American law reaching out to Britain because he hasn't actually
broken any British rules or if he did, the same thing would occur. But
nonetheless, this is America trying to enforce its law somewhere else
and the Americans are being strong on this, whether it's taxation or
other legal issues, and so therefore he gets pulled into the American
system. It requires the Home Secretary finally to agree to it but
nonetheless, the other side of it is, it's quite right that people
should be, at least if not prosecuted, then
accountable, because we need to make sure the reputation of the City
back in. After all, the Stock Exchange, my word is my bond, and if
you don't trust people's words and how they behave, frankly they should
go. The Trust has been eroded big time?
Hugely. Since 2008. Does anyone trust a banker - the answer is
probably no. White-collar crime isn't seen as a real crime where off
none America we see the black-and-white cars turning up,
police turn up and you get taken away in handcuffs but you haven't
been properly arrested but they go through the theatre of it. Here,
they put it to one side and say, it doesn't really matter, yes it does,
it's clients' money. Something you may have an interest in, renting
clothes. Work wear. You could rent your work wear, pay a subscription
every month, you get three items you can keep as long as you want then
return them. That sounds weird. Do Do you get to choose the items or do
you get random squirrels turned up. It says it's for women. You said you
are more than happy to rent out your braces? They should be Rennesed out
on a regular basis. How much would you charge? What's it twoing to be,
a glass of claret! If you think about it, Moss Boros in terms of
renting out clothes, that's what they do in effect. I can quite
understand in terms of formal dresses and jewellery and things
like that, why not? ! Thank you for coming in. Thank you for your
comments that came in, no time to mention them I'm afraid.
. Hello. Some of you will be aware there is a significant change in
progress with regard to the weather