THE NEWS WRAP: Coles workers go on strike

Around 600 workers at one of Coles’ national distribution centres in Melbourne’s north have walked off the job indefinitely.

 

The workers have threatened to stop trucks from entering or leaving the building in protest at the outsourcing of their warehouse.

 

They also claim Coles has refused to offer the same conditions offered to other workers across the country.

 

Tim Kennedy, state secretary of the National Union of Workers, has called for Coles to provide standard conditions for workers.

 

Industry push to reduce renewable energy target

 

Both the Labor Party and the Coalition have indicated they are prepared to consider reining in the 20% renewable energy target under pressure from industry leaders, who warn it will drive up electricity prices more than the carbon tax.

 

Origin Energy managing director Grant King said the target will be the main driver of electricity price rises by 2020 because it locks in increasing reliance on more expensive sources of electricity, such as solar panels and wind turbines.

 

“Given current forecasts for energy demand in 2020, the RET scheme in its current hard-wired form will deliver a lot more than 20%,” King told The Australian Financial Review.

 

“The community signed on for 20% by 2020. If it is 25 or 30%, then it will mean more costs.”

 

China jumps ahead of Japan in Fortune 500

 

China has overtaken Japan for the first time on the Fortune 500, which lists the world’s biggest companies by revenue.

 

While US companies continue to dominate the list – with 132 US firms featured – Chinese companies came in second, with 73, followed by 68 Japanese companies.

 

Meanwhile, the number of European firms fell to 161 from 172 in 2011.

 

However, Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell retook the top spot this year, knocking off US retail giant Walmart.

 

Overnight

 

The Australian dollar is slightly higher despite weak performances from global share markets.

 

At 6.30am, the Australian dollar was trading at US102.09 cents, up from US101.91 cents on Monday.

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