Blog Archive

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Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats forced to hold e-conferences due to coronavirus pandemic

It’s party conference time – but not as we know and love it (and often hated it, too).

Gone are the three weeks of plotting and posturing in big halls, whispered briefings over tepid food, grazing on sausage rolls at fringes and rounding each day with liver-destroying receptions.

This year, thanks to coronavirus, it’s all online. Welcome to the e-conferences, an event that everyone can attend but, frankly, may prove tame since the best action usually takes place not on stage but in bars, corridors and nearby kebab houses.

For the control freaks at No 10 or Victoria Street it is a dream come true – a chance for ultimate message discipline without MPs or members. No chance of it being derailed by an unauthorised 3am reshuffle briefing in the Radisson Hotel bar.

They’re doing their best to recreate some of the fun.

Labour is staging a quiz night on

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  • September 18, 2020
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Pandemic forces Malaysian palm industry to rethink reliance on foreign labour

By Mei Mei Chu

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – Malaysia’s palm oil producers are embarking on a rare recruitment drive to hire locals and accelerating industry mechanisation as they grapple with a severe shortage of foreign labour due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As the September-November peak production season approaches, companies are erecting banners near plantations and posting online job advertisements boasting free housing, free water and other perks of estate life in a bid to lure workers to do everything from driving tractors to harvesting.

Already, travel and movement restrictions have left the world’s second-largest palm oil producer grappling with a shortage of 37,000 workers, nearly 10% of the total workforce. The Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) believes this could blow out to 70,000 workers once borders reopen.

“This is the first time we are making such a big effort to hire Malaysians, but it is also the first time we

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  • August 18, 2020