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Woolworths workers lose long battle for compensation

Thousands of former high street shop staff will not win compensation after their employers collapsed, the European Court of Justice has ruled.

3,200 ex-Woolworths workers and 1,200 from Ethel Austin have missed out on remuneration after their employers collapsed because they were based in stores with fewer than 20 staff.

A closed branch of Woolworths in 2009 Credit: REUTERS/Toby Melville

Shopworkers' union Usdaw said it was "heartbroken" by the decision. However, under UK law workers in smaller stores are excluded from an obligation to consult over redundancies and do not qualify for compensation.

Staff from bigger stores had received payouts when Woolworths collapsed in 2008, and Ethel Austin two years later.

Usdaw general secretary John Hannett said: "Our case is morally and logically robust, so today's verdict is a kick in the teeth. It is unfair and makes no sense that workers in stores of less than 20 employees were denied compensation, whereas their colleagues in larger stores did qualify for the award."

RBS posts £446m loss after currency-rigging probe

RBS has reported a larger-than-expected loss for Q1 Credit: PA

RBS has reported a £446 million loss in Q1 after restructuring and currency-manipulation probes, the state-backed lender has revealed today.

The bank, which is 80% owned by the taxpayer, was hit by restructuring costs of £453 million and £856 million in "litigation and conduct" charges.

Adjusted operating profit, excluding one-off charges, was up 16% to £1.63 billion as the bank benefited from "generally benign credit conditions".


Twitter loses 24% market value after results leaked

Twitter's share price fell by almost a quarter last night, after leaked figures showed its quarterly revenue had failed to meet investors' expectations.

The tech giant reported weaker than expected demand for its new advertising system, while user growth was slow in April, leading to a drop in value of up to 24%.

Twitter said its new ads did not produce the revenue expected Credit: REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Wall Street had expected revenue of around $2.3bn (£1.5bn) in 2015, but estimates have now been reduced to around £2.2bn (£1.3bn).

Meanwhile, Twitter's chief executive Dick Costolo has suggested that users might begin to see "curated" feeds of noteworthy tweets. Rather than the unfiltered chronological stream of updates Twitter users see at the moment, in future they might end up with a Facebook-style algorithm, which picks and chooses what its users see.


Weak growth figures as Tories focus on economy

In the week that the Conservatives focused their campaign on the economy, the Office for National Statistics released disappointing growth figures.

The UK grew by 0.3% during the first quarter of 2015, half the 0.6% rate seen in the final quarter of 2014 and the weakest quarterly growth since the end of 2012.

David Cameron said it was a "timely reminder that we cannot take recovery for granted".

ITV News' James Mates reports:

Sturgeon: GDP data show need for austerity alternative

Nicola Sturgeon has said that today's slow economic growth figures " highlight the need for an alternative to austerity".

Ms Sturgeon called for "modest spending increases" and "investment in actions to get our economy growing faster, to get more people into jobs and to raise our revenues".

Nigel Farage: 'Not many people feel benefit of growth'

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said that today's slow economic growth figures "will be very disappointing for the government".

He said: "Their whole general election pitch is that there's growth in the economy... I've felt for too long that actually not many people are feeling the benefits."

Danny Alexander: We need to do more for economy

Liberal Democrats Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander insisted the economy was continuing to make progress but that more needed to be done.

"The British economy is recovering well, but these figures remind us that there is still work to do to secure the recovery," he said.

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