tv Business Briefing BBC News July 25, 2018 5:30am-5:46am BST
this is the business briefing. i'm ben bland. flying into trouble. ryanair faces strikes around europe over pay and conditions. rebuilding zimbabwe: how lithium could help rescue the economy. and on the markets — asian stocks made modest gains, after a batch of generally solid us earnings and news of china's stimulus plans helped drive markets up. yet more trouble for ryanair. the irish airline is facing a fresh round of industrial action — just days after announcing disappointing financial results. its cabin crew in spain, portugal, italy, and belgium will strike over wages on wednesday and thursday, forcing ryanair to cancel 600 flights. around 100,000 disgruntled passengers are expected to be affected by the cancellations. however the airline says it's managed to rebook some with other carriers.
the row over wages and the impact of high oil prices has hit ryanair‘s bottom line, with the carrier reporting a 20% fall in profits for the second quarter to $374 million. today's industrial action is symptomatic of a vexed relationship with trades unions. rya nair only officially recognised unions for the first time in december 2017. let's get more on this story with the travel expert simon calder. two passengers have options? there are reports is going to be travel chaos. there are departure boards
across europe. everybody was told a week ago that your flight has been cancelled, rya nair offered a week ago that your flight has been cancelled, ryanair offered a full refund, and then crucially, it has, as you pointed out, offered flights on other airlines. most people will get where they need to be. the problem is, of course, that ryanair, when it revealed those disappointing results. said they are expecting much more in the way of strike action among problems of flight and cabin crew. pilots based in dublin went on strike. that led to a couple of dozen cancellations, 2500 people's flights cancelled. unlike any other airline i've ever known, which talks down the prospect of strike action, ryanair says, are
going to be having more strikes but oui’ going to be having more strikes but our low—cost model depends on us doing what we decide is the best thing to do so if you want to go on strike you can, per day, a year, we will take those strikes. and they wa nt to will take those strikes. and they want to point out only one in six flights have been cancelled and most passengers will fly normally on ryanair. that said, timing is u nfortu nate ryanair. that said, timing is unfortunate because the start of the school summer across europe. it should be one of the busiest times for them and a lot of people are looking forward to their getaways. certainly. if you are a trade union in aviation, you will share stop work on the maximum possible impact in latejuly work on the maximum possible impact in late july is work on the maximum possible impact in latejuly is a good candidate for that. particularly since it is a combination of passengers who just desperately need to get to where they need to be because they are going in their annual holiday and also because they are paying a lot of money for it. therefore, the
money that ryanair is losing to these flights is really quite significant. by the way, ryanair is responsible for paying compensation. anything between 250 euros and 400 euros per passenger, go unclaimed. ryanair says, we are not responsible because it 6—storey circumstances but were ryanair to pay out this money, it would cost £30 million, about 40 million us dollars. there are in mind that yes, ryanair has been suffering financially but it still has the sorts of problems that other airlines would love to have. it's still on course to make £i.5 billion profit. the danger of the strategy mentioned earlier about them saying, go on strike but the reasons were keeping wages flow is because we offer low—cost flights and accessible prices for many
people, but if people look at what's going on, they might be reluctant to ta ke going on, they might be reluctant to take those cheap flights. they might wonder, will actually be able to travel at all? of course, that is a real danger. it really has an impact. people think, do i want to ta ke impact. people think, do i want to take a chance? we saw that with air france and the first half of this year, for example. it has an impact. it seems to me that from the state m e nts it seems to me that from the statements that ryanair has been putting out, they have been really aggressive. they published payslips from pilots in portugal and cabin crew in belgium, saying, this is how much they earn. a really aggressive start. they say, we will take a war of attrition against staff who want to go on strike and we will prevail. it next ordinary position for a giantairline. bear
it next ordinary position for a giant airline. bear in mind that ryanair is by far the biggest budget airline in europe. the next ordinary position for it to take. thanks very much indeed. facebook has won a licence to set up an innovation hub in china — despite its website being blocked there. let's go to our asia business hub in singapore where rico hizon is following the story. it's quite interesting this. as it suggests the relationship between facebook and china is starting to warm a little? it could be, could be. it could be the first step for facebook to being unblocked. this $40 million innovation hub will support local start—ups and developers. the investment by the social media giant is an effort by facebook to break into the lucrative
social media market of more than i billion people and hangzhou is the hub, of course, e—commerce giant alibaba. china hub, of course, e—commerce giant aliba ba. china censors hub, of course, e—commerce giant alibaba. china censors social media, and search engines, including twitter and google. the news sent shares in chinese companies which have business dealings with facebook searching on the shanghai stock exchange. some are up a maximum 10% intradaytrading session. zimbabwe holds elections in less than a week's time and the economy is very much in focus. the country is rich in natural resources including lithium. demand for the commodity has soared recently, because it's a crucial component in the rechargeable batteries used in electric vehicles. can this help kick start the zimbabwean economy? vivienne nunis has been finding out. this part zimbabwe just outside
the capital harare used to be known for its rich soil, but dig a bit deeper and you'll find something that could prove far more valuable. one of the world's largest deposits of lithium. it's the first big lithium development in africa within the current lithium boom. it's going to create about 150 to $160 million of income a year, which is critical, and create 250 jobs in phase one. phase one of the project will see the lithium ore extracted and refined into concentrates. but mining firm prospect resources has bigger plans for the zimbabwe operation. it wants to convert the extracted material into lithium carbonate, a much more valuable product that is used to make lithium iron batteries, which relies on a complex chemical process.
the company has built this pilot plant to show investors it can be done. and this is the final product, pure lithium carbonate, the material sold to lithium battery manufacturers around the world to service the growing demand for electric vehicles. the value upgrade is from an average of $600 a tonne up to between $14,000 and $25,000 a tonne. a massive advantage. a tantalising prospect for an economy that is crippled by a severe shortage of foreign currency. not surprisingly, the government that took power last year has been a big backer of the lithium project. it's on a charm offensive to convince foreign investors that zimbabwe is now a safe bet. there is peace, good operating systems in the country in terms of exports, imports, banking transactions. zimbabwe is open for business. many international investors say they are waiting to see if this month's election is free and fair before committing to developments like the lithium plant.
if they can be persuaded, projects like this could be part of a much larger economic recovery. that's it for the business briefing this hour and up next — newsbriefing. we'll take you through ther stories making headlines in the global news media today including. a woman who's trying to divorce her husband of 40 years will find out today if she's won her court battle. tini 0wens believes that her marriage to hugh 0wens has broken down, but he disagrees saying they still have a "few years" to enjoy. the case has led to fresh calls
for a no—fault divorce system in england and wales. our legal affairs correspondent clive coleman has more details. divorce requires proof of adultery, desertion, unreasonable behaviour, two years separation with consent of the parties or five without. tini 0wens claims she's been left in a loveless a nd 0wens claims she's been left in a loveless and desperately unhappy marriage with a husband, shoe, which broke down after she'd had an affair. thejudge rejected her claims he'd acted unreasonably in the rating her about her infidelity. despite his wife's flynn, mr 0wens wa nts to despite his wife's flynn, mr 0wens wants to stay married as he believes the couples —— the couple still has a few years of old age together. the court of appeal backed him, ruling in fact that being in a wretchedly unhappy marriage was no ground for divorce. contested divorces are incredibly rare. most couples agree that one side will admit they have
acted unreasonably in order to get the divorce. many seniorjudges favour a no—fault system where neither party is blamed for the breakdown, but none has dared to change what parliament has decreed. the supreme court will be taking a bold step in doing so. clive coleman, bbc news. another attempt will be made today to break the political deadlock in northern ireland. ministers from london and dublin will meet at the british—irish intergovernmental conference for the first time amid efforts to restore stormont powersharing. the british—irish intergovernmental conference will be held in london, a year and a half after devolved government imploded in belfast after a bitter row between the dup and sinn fein over a botched green energy scheme. this is the briefing from bbc news. the latest headlines:
greece is observing three days of national mourning following the deaths of at least 74 people in wildfires near athens. hundreds of homes and cars have been destroyed, with forests reduced to ash as the flames quickly spread. voting is underway in pakistan following a general election campaign that's been marred by accusations of military interference. the party of the former cricketer, imran khan, is challenging that of the ousted prime minister, nawaz sharif. it has emerged that the dam which has collapsed in sales which killed 20 people had developed a fault discovered a day before. they had tried unsuccessfully to re— parent. —— laos. now it's time to look at some of the stories making headlines in the media around the world, and many front pages are understandably concentrating on two disasters, one natural the other man—made, which although thousands of miles apart, do bear striking similarities. france's le figaro
concentrates on the sheer intensity of the greece wildfires. it's front page photograph showing the height the flames reached, as a helicopter circles overhead. it's the story dominating the front page of the irish times. this time the image is from the ground as exhausted fire fighters battle the wall of heat and smoke. the straits times concentrates its coverage on the laos dam burst. those who survived but were made homeless forced to await rescue by sitting on the roofs of what were their homes, surrounded by the torrent of water. in other news: the new york times looks at how one country has defied the odds to find a way out of its financial crisis. a high—tech drone on an olive grove provides the image for how portugal overcame austerity and bailouts by investing in its own infrastructure, creating wealth and jobs, says the paper. the san francisco examiner looks at how hi tech workers dining in workplace cafeterias may soon face a harsh reality — going outside. legislation is expected to ban
on—site workplace cafeterias in an effort to promote and support local restaurants. and finally buzzfeed news website. and the beautiful choir that sang at the wedding of prince harry and meghan markle has landed itself a record deal. the kingdom choir wowed the congregation with their rendition of stand by me. with me is iain anderson, founder of the international communications agency, cicero group.