03-June-2011

Canada’s Postal Strike

+ Union asking for wage increases of 3.3% 1st year and 2.75% each of the next 3 years. Canada Post is offering 1.9% annually.

+ Canada Post wants new employee starting rate reduced to $18/hour (down 22%) and existing workers pay topped at $26/ hour.

+ Workers currently get 3 weeks vacation, increasing to 7 weeks after 28 years of service.

Nuclear Power

+ Germany has endorsed a plan to shut all of its atomic-power plants by 2022

Background information

+ First commercial nuclear power stations started operation in the 1950’s

+ Over 440 commercial nuclear power reactors in 30 countries, providing 14% of global electricity. Coal represents 40.8%, gas 21.3%, and hydro 16.2%.

+ Over 60 nuclear power reactors are under construction, equivalent to 17% of existing capacity and over 150 are firmly planned, equivalent to 46% of present capacity.

+ Germany, Finland, and Japan get more than 25% of their power from nuclear while France gets around 75% and the US 20%.

Tidbits

+ OPEC official sees need for additional 500,000 to 1,000,000 barrels a day.

+ Shale gas ‘fracking’ in the UK is halted after possible link to earthquakes.

+ Bank of Ireland is seeking to impose losses of as much as 90% on tier 1 debt and 80% on tier 2 in exchange for cash or equity.

+ German unemployment fell for 23rd straight month to 7%, lowest since records for a reunified Germany began in 1991, driven by export growth.

+ US economy added 54,000 jobs in May, approximately 1/3 of forecast. Unemployment rate increased to 9.1% from 9.0%.