Opening Bell: Euro loves Macron win, fashion transparency, dole cuts

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There's been a 2,000% increase in the number of people having their dole cut for turning down offers of work or training.

Almost 3,000 people were penalised between January and March, compared to just 359 when the new rules came into effect in 2011.

It suggests that over 12,000 unemployed people face welfare cuts in 2017.

The figures have been released to Fianna Fáil's welfare spokesman.

Willie O'Dea told the Irish Independent that the cuts are a "crude implement" which leave the "sword of Damocles" hanging over unemployed people.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar has strongly defended the measures.


Public sector workers could be in line for a 6% pay rise over 3 years.

According to The Irish Times, it is one of the measures the Government is prepared to award 300,000 people as part of a new deal.

Pensions are also expected to be high on the agenda for the negotiations, which will get underway after a report is published by the Public Service Pay Commission in the coming weeks.

The report says the cost of paying pensions to retired public-service staff is now €3.3 billion.


Clothing brands are being accused of not revealing enough information on workers' rights and their environmental impact.

The Fashion Transparency Index says customers need to know whether their money is supporting human rights abuses or environmental destruction.

The new report marks four years since a factory collapse in Bangladesh killed more than 1,000 clothing workers.

The Fashion Transparency Index gave Adidas and Reebok the highest score of 121.5 out of 250 in a ranking of how much information 100 of the biggest fashion firms in the world publish about their social and environmental dealings.

Marks & Spencer and H&M also ranked highly.

However, it noted that even high-scoring brands "still have a long way to go", while only eight scored higher than 40%.

Nine brands scored 4% or less – Dior, China's Heilan Home and Germany's s.Oliver scored zero for disclosing nothing.


The markets let out a sigh of relief following the first round of voting in the French presidential election on Sunday.

The euro initially jumped 2%, landing at its highest level in five months. It had its strongest showing against the dollar since November 10th, the day after the results of the US presidential election.

With centrist Emmanuel Macron coming out on top and primed to beat far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in the final round, Asian markets were trading higher on Monday.

Japan's Nikkei 225 surged 1.5% at one point before a slight retreat.

There had been concerns from investors that Mr Macron would be defeated by the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leaving two Eurosceptic candidates in the final running in France.

Market analyst Paul Sommerville told Newstalk:

"So the euro is the first thing that happens. There's a lot of buying of the euro in Asian markets – the euro trading at around [$1.09] against the dollar. That's a huge move up for the euro from Friday's close at around 107.

"From an Irish perspective, the euro's moved up hugely against sterling, so not so good for us. It's moved from about 83p on Friday; we're trading at around 85p this morning."