Toyota looks toward solar energy

first_img7 May 2008Toyota has become the latest company to answer power utility Eskom’s call for companies to reduce electricity consumption and to find alternative energy sources, by installing over 200 solar panels at its Prospecton plant in Durban.With the country’s growing at some 15% per year and putting strain on existing infrastructure, Eskom had asked businesses to cut power usage by 10% in order to reduce demand by 3 000 megawatts.“We would like to work together with Eskom’s new task team to aid in load reduction,” said Toyota South Africa spokesperson Ferdi de Vos in a statement this week.“This will ensure that our economy does not suffer loss from unnecessary load-shedding.”By the end of 2008, Toyota will have installed 270 solar panels into its Durban plant, which will enable them to operate at full capacity while also reducing demand on Eskom.Where the plant previously used electricity and gas to heat water, it will now use energy converted from the sun as a source of heat. Solar panels collect and convert energy from the sun into energy and heat that is then used by nearby buildings.Toyota’s renewable energy project began in 2006 with the installation of 44 panels, and the second phase was completed in June 2007 when 150 panels were installed. In the third phase of the project, Toyota will install a further 120 panels.While the project has cost Toyota R3.5-million, the company expects to save R95 000 per month on energy costs when the project is completed in the next few months.“Not only is this a significant financial saving, but it shows that Toyota is supportive of Eskom’s energy saving initiative,” said De Vos.The environmental impact of electricity use in South Africa is also a concern that big electricity users like Toyota needed to help address, and the manufacturer pointed out that the change would reduce its carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere by approximately 1 350 tons per year.“Our solar power initiative is done with the environment in mind,” said De Vos.According to the company, over 18% of global final energy came from renewables in 2006.SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publicationor on your website?See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

HR Intel: Gig Economy Clashes with Traditional Labor

first_imgIs Uber’s recognition of the Independent Driver’s Guild (IDG) in New York a step in the right direction or an evil red herring? It depends, of course, on which lawyer you ask.One the one hand, lawyers for the IDG say the agreement with Uber will guarantee drivers monthly meetings to raise concerns, create an appeals process for driver termination decisions and provide legal services and benefits to drivers at discounted rates.Some view this agreement as a positive development – the forging of an unlikely and unsteady alliance. The agreement will provide some protection for drivers while also helping Uber stem the flow of litigation. Uber also gains an ally in its attempt to repeal a New York law taxing “black car” rides 9%, but which exempts traditional yellow taxi cabs.On the other side of the debate, we have Senator Elizabeth Warren, who says the “gig economy” is merely a symptom of the erosion of worker rights over time. Taking on-demand taxi gigs is a sort of last-ditch effort to create economic security and autonomy by workers who’ve been marginalized and squeezed by corporate America while all the wealth flowed to the top. She may have a point.To be fair to Uber, unionizing gig economy workers is really difficult. It starts with the mentality of such workers, having watched as their influence over wages at the corporate level dissipated steadily over the years and as traditional trade unions were pushed out. Union membership rates have been declining consistently for about 50 years. And during that time, wages for the vast majority of Americans remained stagnant while the C suite got paid. About that, Senator Warren is correct.Now, however, workers have the technology to fight back. They can use apps like Uber and Lyft to provide transportation, Miniluxe or Shortcut to provide onsite hairstyling and even source temporary staffing apps like Shiftgig and TaskRabbit to find short-term jobs. They can choose their own wages, essentially, by choosing how often they want to work. The catch, of course, is that workers who want both the flexibility and the money are hung out to dry when they have a medical or financial crisis because their “employer” doesn’t provide health insurance. Not to mention, the lack of a practical, portable retirement savings account (in the absence of employer-sponsored 401(k)s for contractors) means those workers may be left hanging in retirement as well.The other catch is that being a contractor (employee?) for one of these companies means your choices about work are going to be very personal. The amount of individual control workers have over these apps and their work schedules makes it very difficult to get them to agree on broad labor terms, let alone specifics like benefit plans or wages. That makes it extremely impractical and difficult to get them to band together and that is why the formation of the IDG and its recognition by Uber is a big development, albeit on a small scale.As usual, the solution is a compromise and perhaps a reimagining of some labor regulations to reflect modern working conditions. Uber drivers are not, after all, gathering at some shady parking lot in downtown San Francisco at 5 a.m. every day to wait for work. They’re scanning smartphones for gigs in their downtime between hipster beard trimming class and Yoga.Senator Warren says there should be three major objectives for policy makers, legislators and worker unions in trailblazing the gig economy’s path when it comes to labor regulations:         Improve the safety net by providing catastrophic insurance coverage,         Make healthcare benefits portable; and         Make retirement benefits portable.Those goals remain lofty and far off for now as the IDG won’t do much of that for Uber drivers in New York. But Uber’s recognition of the IDG is a small, tentative step in the right direction.Discrimination NationColleen Dominguez’s sex and age discrimination suit against Fox Sports 1 (FS1) will proceed to trial after the employer’s motion to dismiss the case on First Amendment grounds was denied. FS1 argued that it withheld assignments from Dominguez based on its right to craft its own programming message, but according to the court, that argument completely misses the point of the lawsuit. If crafting a corporate message results in the marginalization of individuals based on their sex or age, it’s still illegal.In this case, Dominguez claims she was asked to get an “Erin Andrews makeover” (complete with a facelift and hair extensions). This was in addition to numerous other comments and critiques about her physical appearance, issues which were not common with male or younger female colleagues. Now that the case can proceed, that will open up the “discovery” phase, during which time lawyers for Dominguez may get to see exactly what FS1 had to say about her when it chose not to let her cover big assignments like the 2015 Super Bowl, for example. Uh oh.Good news for employers that have faced frivolous or otherwise “unreasonable” EEOC lawsuits. In CRST Van Expedited v. EEOC, the Supreme Court held that the employer may recover up to $4 million in attorney’s fees from the EEOC after defending itself against a charge of systemic sexual harassment. During the investigation and resulting lawsuit, the EEOC (allegedly) failed to make witnesses available for depositions and otherwise allowed the statute of limitations on claims to expire in some cases.In these types of situations, attorney’s fees may be recoverable, but something tells me that pretty much every single employer that has ever been sued would view the lawsuit as “unreasonable.” Tread carefully when seeking attorney’s fees as it’s immensely difficult to prevail on those types of cases and you will accrue additional attorney’s fees in the process of trying to collect them. Gotta love lawyers!Compliance CarouselNew York State is suing Domino’s (corporate) together with several Domino’s franchisees, claiming that they collaborated to underpay workers by about $565,000 in 10 different stores. To bring corporate Domino’s into the case, the state will have to make the “joint employer” argument which means proving allegations that corporate Domino’s micromanaged employee relations issues at the franchisee level.The “ignorance of the law” defense rarely, if ever, works in court. In Craig v. Bridges Bros. Trucking, the 6th Circuit ruled that ignorance of FLSA regulations did not excuse an employer’s failure to pay proper overtime. The district court had ruled in the employer’s favor because the employee in question had failed to notify her employer about the missed overtime payments. The 6th Circuit found, however, that the employer likely knew about its overtime pay obligation to the employee because of some internal communications about capping her work hours.How is this song related to HR?In the last edition of HR Intel, we asked you how “Candidate” by Joy Division is related to HR. This song is very much about politics, but you don’t need much experience in the modern work setting to know that politics are hyper-relevant. Not only do people bring their political persuasions into the workplace, but office politics add a whole other layer of complexity.Candidate is about the struggles that go on between individuals or groups with different value systems and ultimately, a recognition that we’re all different and unique, yet we have similar objectives in that we need to work together. Sounds like something relatable to HR.We leave you with “Burn the Witch” by Radiohead from their new album: A Moon Shaped Pool.Tell us how you think this song is related to HR in the comments section below.Originally posted on the XpertHR blog.last_img read more

Google Search Has 90% Market Share in France – Could This Happen Worldwide?

first_imgRelated Posts Tags:#Analysis#search#Statistics#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Our network blog AltSearchEngines reports that Google has around 90% search engine market share in France (well, 89.98% to be exact!). The next biggest is Yahoo ! (3.17%), followed by MSN (2.33%). Over the past year, between August 2006 and August 2007, Google has gone up by 3.76%. Whereas its 4 main competitors have all lost ground in the same time span, as indicated by this graph:SourceIf you think about how Microsoft peaked at nearly 90% market share with IE6 in the early 2000s – and it still has over 75% even now – one wonders if Google Search will ever gain that kind of dominance worldwide? Already Google has shown it has a lot of sway over social networks, having enticed all the main players but Facebook to sign up to its set of API standards called OpenSocial. So Google is setting standards now in search and social networking, the two most popular activities on the Web.Recent comScore research put Google at just over 60% market share for search engines worldwide, and Yahoo second with around 14%. Third? Not Microsoft, but Chinese search engine Baidu with about 5%. Microsoft has around 3.5% share worldwide in search engines, according to comScore.Source: comScoreGoogle’s worldwide share looks even better at Net Applications, where Google sites account for 71% + of worldwide search market share. Yahoo has roughly 10% in those stats. However Baidu only gets 0.10% in Net Applications, so I suspect comScore’s figures are closer to the truth.Source: Net ApplicationsGoing back to the France results, Google has 90% market share there – can they do it in other major countries, like the US and China? You’d have to say no on China, based on Baidu’s lead there. But in the US and other major countries, Google is becoming more and more powerful. However, no need to raise alarm bells yet in the US. The latest Hitwise stats for the US show Google with 63.55% market share, up 2.62% from the year before. Yahoo is holding steady at 22%, according to Hitwise.Still, it’s worth keeping an eye on the global stats. If Google can hit 90% in a large market like France, well it could happen elsewhere too.center_img A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… richard macmanus 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

What’s Good In My ‘Hood: Darnell Lamont, Graduate Hospital

first_img Heading into our fifth installment of the “What’s Good in My ‘Hood” series, we’ll like to introduce you to one of Philly’s most beloved neighborhoods, Graduate Hospital. A part of Southwest Center City, “G Ho”, as it’s affectionately called, was named after the medical facility on the northern tip of the neighborhood. Characterized by a mix of an old meets new vibe in its architecture, the neighborhood is littered with many pubs, small parks, shops and galleries. It’s easily walkable and just steps from Rittenhouse, Fitler Square and Point Breeze neighborhoods. So, we asked Philadelphia resident, graphic artist and photographer, Darnell Lamont, what he thinks of his ‘hood. Philly 360° Q&A with Graduate Hospital resident Darnell Lamont …Powered by Cincopa Video Hosting for Business solution. Darnell’s Graduate Hospital Itinerary: Miles Table – 1620 South St.Pure Fare – 1609 South St.Honey’s Sit N’ Eat –  2101 South St.Art Sanctuary – 628 S 16th St.Bob & Barbara’s –  1509 South St.Sidecar Bar & Grille – 2201 Christian St.Grace’s Tavern – 2229 Grays Ferry Ave. Philly 360: How do you describe Graduate Hospital? Darnell: A great place to chill and just be. Philly 360: What are some of your favorite spots in your hood? Darnell: Miles Table and Pure Fare on South Street are great places to go and refuel/ take in some good food. Honey’s Sit N’Eat is a must for Saturday and Sunday brunches. You can also catch me taking in art from local artists at Art Sanctuary. Philly 360: What do you like about the neighborhood? Darnell: G Ho is such a convenient neighborhood to live in. I’m always on the go so it’s easy for me to get to where I need to be in a short period of time. I can pretty much walk anywhere because it’s right outside of Center City and other neighborhoods. There’s also a great mix of people that live here. Philly 360: For outside visitors, what should people know about the neighborhood? Darnell: The neighborhood is unpretentious and easily walkable. Imbibe in some drinks at a great pub and then take a walk around the block. Trust me — you’ll have a lot of fun doing that!   What’s Good In My ‘Hood: Darnell Lamont, Graduate Hospital(J. Lowe for Visit Philadelphia)last_img read more