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Marillion ask fans to become Lightsavers to secure tour and gig at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall

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The legendary prog-rock band who went from playing Edinburgh’s legendary rock club upstairs at the Playhouse to the venues’ main 3,000+ auditorium almost overnight when they emerged into the public glare in 1982 have asked their followers to ‘insure the tour’ as they prepare to embark upon the 10-date ‘The Light At The End of The Tunnel Tour’, which is due to bring them to the Usher Hall on November 15.

Marillion and their manager Lucy Jordache have come up with a unique way to solve the problem of not being able to buy pandemic insurance ahead of hitting the road, asking fans to ‘pledge’ money in case one of the band members or road crew contracts Covid and the rest of the tour has to be cancelled.

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Jordache explains, “We tried to get the tour insured, but it has proved impossible. No companies want to take the risk.“We’re asking our fans to pledge money that will be held in escrow and if it all goes Covid free it will be returned to them at the end of the tour. But if we do have to cancel, then their money will be used to pay the band’s unavoidable expenses. We are calling it Lightsavers.”In return, fans who donate money to the cause will receive “money can’t buy items”.She continues, “Regardless of whether their money is eventually returned or not, every person who donates will receive money can’t buy items in return.”Depending on the amount pledged, fans could see their name in the tour programme or receive a free download of a gig. Some could find themselves in a group chat or even a personal meeting with the band via Zoom. All will also be entered for a raffle with prizes such as a handwritten lyric of their choice, a full set of guitar plectrums, and personal shout-outs at concerts.

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Marillion frontman, Steve Hogarth, believes their loyal fans will be only too happy to help out.”We are blessed with having the most amazing fans. They are incredibly supportive and loyal. We are desperate to play in front of those wonderful crowds again and I know they are so excited to see us,” he says.

“Like so many other bands, we’ve been in deep freeze for the last 18 months. It has been a dark time of course for everyone but now there is, indeed, light at the end of the tunnel, and we need our Lightsavers to ensure we reach there.”With more than £150,000 already invested in the 10-date tour tour any cancellation would be “absolutely devastating” says Jordache.

Marillion became a household name in 1982 with the release of Market Square Heroes fronted by monumental Dalkeith singer/songwriter Fish, real name Derek Dick. Based now in Haddington where he continues his solo career, Fish quickly established himself as the band’s lead singer scoring Top 10 hits with the singles Kayleigh, Lavender and Incommunicado, leaving the band in 1988 when he was replaced by Hogarth.

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Down with the boss, up with the gig worker – The News Herald

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Napoleon didn’t deride the English as “a nation of shopkeepers,” although that phrase is commonly attributed to him. In fact, it was Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac, a French revolutionary who used it when attacking the achievements of British Prime Minister William Pitt, the Younger.

I think Napoleon was too smart not to have realized that a nation of shopkeepers is a strong nation, and that if the English of the time were indeed a nation of shopkeepers, they would constitute a more formidable enemy.

A nation of shopkeepers, to my mind, is an ideal: self-motivated people who know the value of work, money, and enterprise; and who are almost by definition individualists. So, I regret the constant threats to small business coming from chains, economies of scale, high rents, and some social stigma.

But mostly I regret that in our education system, self-employment isn’t celebrated and venerated as being equivalent to work at larger enterprises.

We define too many by where they work, not by what they do.

I have always believed that one should aspire to work for oneself, to eschew the temptations of the big, enveloping corporation and to strike out with whatever skills one has to test them in the market and to have the customer, not the boss, tell you what to do.

Our education system produces people tailored to be employed, not self-employed.

But things are changing. The gig economy was well underway before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and now it is roaring. Many employees found that the servitude of conventional employment wasn’t for them.

The gig world differs from the small business world that I have described in that it is small business refined to its absolute core: a one-person business, true self-employment.

There are many advantages in self-employment for society and for the larger business world. Hiring a self-employed contractor is easier for a company, not having to create a staff position and pay all the costs that go with it. Laying off a contractor isn’t as traumatic. The worker is more respected, and is asked to do things not commanded. The system gains efficiency.

But if employers come to see the gig economy as just cheap, dispensable labor, then the gig economy has failed.

The gig worker shouldn’t expect security but should be treated in a business-to-business environment. He or she needs to know how to drive a bargain and to have the moral courage to ask for a contract that is fair and recognizes the value that is intrinsic in the gig relationship.

I am a fan of Lyft and Uber. They offer self-employment to anyone with a driver’s license and a car — and the companies will even get you into a car. But the bargain is one-sided. The driver has the freedom to work what hours he or she chooses but not to negotiate the terms of their engagement. That is decided by a computer in San Francisco.

This gig worker can’t hope to hire other drivers and start a small business: It doesn’t pass the gig contract concept. I have talked to many ride-share drivers. They revel in the freedom, but not the income.

Gig workers can be, well, anything from a plumber to a computer programmer, from a dog walker to an actuary.

But for the free new world of gig working to become part of our business fabric, the social structure needs to be adjusted by the government to allow for the gig worker to enroll in Social Security and to charge expenses against taxes as would an incorporated business. Jane Doe, who makes a living designing websites, needs to know that she is a business, not just freelancing between jobs.

A friend who has been self-employed for many years told me recently that he was being considered for a big staff job. I told him to be mindful that he will be trading away some dignity and a lot of freedom. It is hard to get into a harness when you have been running free.

I hope we get many more workers running free. Napoleon would have understood.

Llewellyn King is executive producer and host of “White House Chronicle” on PBS. He wrote this for InsideSources.com.

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Workers are taking on gig giants, one tweet at a time

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For Poonam, Dussehra usually marks the start of a busy festive season giving beauticians like her no time to breathe between house calls, with several gold facials and chocolate waxes squeezed in. But this year, Poonam, along with several other Urban Company (UC) employees, logged out of the app and refused to work till their demands for lower commissions and better working conditions were met. Post-pandemic, Poonam’s monthly earnings had been slashed by half from an average Rs 60,000 a month in 2019 and she was desperate. “One woman was under so much pressure that she was near suicide,” she confides.
On October 8, workers sat on a dharna outside the UC Gurgaon office. Their voices would have probably been ignored but for some behind-the-scenes techies at the All India Gig Workers Union (AIGWU) who helped draft their charter of demands while Twitter accounts like @DeliveryBhoy, @ZomatoPartners, @aigwu_union and @SwiggyDEHyd amplified their protest.
On October 14, UC announced a slew of changes such as cutting commission, unblocking IDs of striking workers and starting a helpline. A UC statement said, “The urgency with which we are moving is because it is the right thing to do and not under business pressure.” This has been a rare victory not just for the 3,500 UC workers in Delhi-NCR but for gig workers across the country. While the gig economy has transformed the world of work, the precarious nature of employment has left many insecure and unprotected. Now, they’re slowly realising that combining forces and using social media can make their voice heard more effectively.
Food delivery workers were the first to take to Twitter, launching more than a dozen handles, three run by registered unions, to aggregate and amplify cases of discrimination (not being allowed to use building lifts or restrooms at restaurants while waiting to pick up orders), and working conditions — be it blocked IDs of riders, lack of responsiveness from the company on accident cases or heavy workloads. Ahmed Mohiuddin, a Zomato delivery agent, started the Telangana Gig and Platform Workers Union Twitter handle @TGWPU in August this year. “I barely save Rs 10,000-12,000 a month after fuel costs, maintenance and other expenses despite working over 10 hours a day,” says the 20-year-old who supports his family and pays his college fees with his meagre earnings. Twitter, he says, has encouraged other agents to speak up as well. “Other delivery agents and friends ask me to post on their behalf because the company blocks IDs if it finds out who has posted them,” he adds.
TGWPU founder and national general secretary of the Indian Federation of App Based Transport Workers (IFAT) Shaik Salauddin, who drives a cab himself, says that though it has been a hard task to bring workers together, their social media strategy seems to be paying off. “Earlier, if there was a local-level protest the company would block IDs and just use new agents. Now we use social media to name and shame them.”
In India, the gig economy workforce is estimated at around 8 million people but has the potential to provide work to as many as 90 million people in the next decade, according to a recent Boston Consulting Group report. While this is promising, gig work is far less so. Last year there were a series of protests by Swiggy workers in Chennai, Hyderabad and Noida, protesting against pay cuts and removal of monthly incentives during the pandemic, while ride-hailing giants Ola and Uber also faced protests over the 20% commission charged despite a steep drop in business.
These strikes were spontaneous but ineffective, says Girish (name changed), coordinator for the AIGWU. Girish, a Delhi-based techie, is part of the All India IT and ITeS Employees’ Union and one of the volunteers raising awareness among gig workers, creating structures of leadership and providing support with social media. “We have been helping workers from various platforms connect by holding monthly meetings and strategising with them so they are able to fight for their rights,” he says.
In 2019, a collective of about 40 people including academicians, NGOs, lawyers came under the aegis of the Working People’s Charter to bring workers under a cohesive leadership of IFAT. With the pandemic further impacting income of gig workers, IFAT now has 35,000 members and growing.
Rahul Sapkal, professor at IIT-Bombay and IFAT co-founder, says, “Gig workers are not even recognised as workers under Indian law. We have adopted a multi-pronged strategy — advocacy, studies to capture the impact of the pandemic on their livelihoods and approaching the courts — to build pressure on the government and the companies.” In September, IFAT filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking social security benefits from platform companies including Uber, Ola, Zomato and Swiggy — the first such lawsuit in the country.
Kaveri Medappa, a doctoral researcher at the University of Sussex who has studied the living and working conditions of delivery workers in Bengaluru, said that it was unfortunate that Twitter had become a platform for negotiation. “Social media has proved to be the Achilles heel for delivery and ride-sharing companies. Workers have been able to use Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to share how work happens, how minutely their lives are controlled and how they are punished,” she says.
A Zomato spokesperson dismissed these allegations as biased misunderstandings. “If these allegations were even remotely true, our business would not sustain. Why? Because…unhappy delivery partners would lead to unhappy customers, which would be terrible for our business. It’s in our interest to ensure they are cared for and that the platform works for them.” The company also said that they had a team of over 1,200 people to address 25,000 support requests and most were solved within 24 hours. Ola did not respond and Swiggy refused to comment on the social media criticism.
Medappa feels the government should be doing more for labour rights. Parliament passed the Code on Social Security in 2020, bringing 250 million unorganised workers within the social security net and providing benefits like old-age pensions, health insurance and disability aids. But the code is yet to be implemented. She cites progressive legislation in UK, and China where workers’ rights have been protected by laws. “Despite threats of retreat of capital, we must continue to push back to be heard,” she says.



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Gigcapital4 (GIG) gains 0.30% for October 15

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Gigcapital4 Inc (NASDAQ: GIG) shares gained 0.30%, or $0.03 per share, to close Friday at $9.89. After opening the day at $9.86, shares of Gigcapital4 fluctuated between $9.93 and $9.87. 53,854 shares traded hands a decrease from their 30 day average of 74,855. Friday’s activity brought Gigcapital4’s market cap to $454,441,544.





Visit Gigcapital4 Inc’s profile for more information.



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BlackRock Beats Q3 Profit Estimates, But Asset Growth Flattens



BlackRock Inc topped third-quarter profit estimates helped by robust performance fees and strong demand for its actively managed and sustainable funds, even as volatile markets hindered the world’s largest money manager from growing its assets under management.



Asset managers have benefited from rising global financial markets in recent quarters as investors put money to work, making the most of the post-pandemic economic reopening, driven by progress on vaccinations and strong fiscal and monetary aid.



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JPMorgan Misses on Third Quarter Revenue, Beats Earnings Estimates With One-Time Items

 



JPMorgan Chase posted a 24% jump in third-quarter profits on Wednesday, largely driven by one-time items that boosted its results, as the bank struggled to grow revenues with interest rates at near-zero levels.



The nation’s largest bank by assets said it earned a profit of $11.69 billion, or $3.74 per share, compared with a profit of $9.44 billion, or $2.92 per share, in the same period a year earlier. The bank had two one-time items that helped boost its profits this quarter: a $566 million income tax benefit and the release of $2.1 billion from its troubled loans books, something the JPMorgan has been doing every three months since the U.S. economy started recovering from the pandemic.



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Emerson Electric To Merge Industrial Software Businesses With Aspen Technology



Industrial software maker Emerson Electric Co (NYSE: EMR) will merge two of its businesses with smaller rival, Aspen Technology Inc (Nasdaq:AZPN), in a deal worth $11 billion. 



The cash-and-stock transaction announced Monday values AspenTech at about $160 per share, a 27% premium to its Oct. 6 close, before Bloomberg News first reported on talks between the two companies. 



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The Nasdaq Stock Market is a global leader in trading data and services, and equities and options listing. Nasdaq is the world’s leading exchange for options volume and is home to the five largest US companies – Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook.



To get more information on Gigcapital4 Inc and to follow the company’s latest updates, you can visit the company’s profile page here: Gigcapital4 Inc’s Profile. For more news on the financial markets be sure to visit Equities News. Also, don’t forget to sign-up for the Daily Fix to receive the best stories to your inbox 5 days a week.



Sources: Chart is provided by TradingView based on 15-minute-delayed prices. All other data is provided by IEX Cloud as of 8:05 pm ET on the day of publication.

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