‘Supermarkets support responsible-fishing scheme that pays crews low wages’

The Times 20 November 2017

Supermarkets have been criticised for using a responsible-fishing scheme that allegedly certified boats with crews on very low wages who lived on vessels that were unfit for habitation all year round. Seafish, a quango which aims to raise standards in the seafood industry, claims that its Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) certifies “high standards of crew welfare”.

Migrants used as forced labour, charity claims

The Times  15 November 2017

Migrant workers on Scottish fishing boats are doing dangerously long hours in unsafe working conditions, according to a seafarers’ charity. Scottish fishing vessels are routinely using workers from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) as cheap labour due to a legal loophole that leaves them vulnerable to exploitation, the charity says.

Even the big brewers are fans, so why is craft beer’s glass half-full?

The Times 25 September 2017

When is a craft beer not a craft beer? It is a question troubling some drinkers after large multinational drinks companies started to buy up their favourite craft breweries. Carlsberg’s acquisition of London Fields brewery, for example, followed AB Inbev scooping up Camden Town and a series of other acquisitions that have left the remaining independent brewers cautious about their future.

Co-operatives can be the key to survival in a competitive world

The Times 7 August 2017

Working for a family-owned business can be infuriating, particularly if the boss installs his woefully unprepared son as managing director. When that happened to Edmund Potter in the late 1960s, he decided to set up on his own and do things differently. In 1971, he launched Delta-T Devices, a maker of scientific instruments, which became a co-operative when it was large enough to qualify in 1980.

Developing a taste for activist investors

The Times 6 June 2017

It was called a $143 billion flop, but Kraft Heinz’s failed attempt to buy Unilever was a classic tale of the pressures that modern companies face. Unilever under Paul Polman has become the model of a “good” company: only two years into the job as chief executive, he launched a sustainable living plan, an attempt to halve Unilever’s environmental impact. His efforts have been applauded by NGOs and activist groups, but the question was always whether investors would give him the time to prove that responsible capitalism made good business sense.

Do the French and Germans just work harder than us?

The Times 23 May 2017

Why are British workers less productive? It is a question that keeps economists awake at night. The financial crisis hit productivity around the world. France and Germany have recovered well but workers in Britain take an average of five days to produce what their peers in France, Germany and the US do in four. This matters.

Cuba’s great seducers

Medium 26 November 2016

It is still not clear what Fidel Castro’s death will mean for Cuba. Already relations with the US are thawing and American tourists have joined the hordes of Canadians and Europeans who visit the island every year. Tourists are, for the most part, welcomed on the island, for the foreign currency they bring and the window onto a world that has been closed to Cubans for decades. Until recently, there was an effective ban on emigrating. Even without these restrictions, few could afford to leave. In Cuba, as with many of the Caribbean islands, marriage is often the only ticket out.

David and Goliath struggle over national transfer of power

The Times 10 October 2016

If you search for an energy deal on a price comparison website, the chances are several unfamiliar names will crop up. Long-dominated by British Gas, E.ON, EDF, SSE, ScottishPower and Npower, there has been a flood of entrants to the market, with 14 new suppliers in the past year. Down from 99 per cent in 2012, the so-called Big Six still have an 85 per cent share of the market, but they are haemorrhaging customers at a rate of 120,000 a month.