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UK Buckingham Palace under fire for zero-hours contracts

daily alternative | alternative news - UK Buckingham Palace under fire for zero-hours contracts

The UK’s Buckingham Palace comes under fire from trade unions, politicians and activists after it has emerged that hundreds of its summer staff were hired on unfavorable zero-hours contracts.

Under the controversial zero-hours contract, staff are not guaranteed work and are not allowed to work for other employee without a written consent of the palace.

According to The Guardian, a copy of a staff contract dated 2009 says, “Your hours of work will be advised by the visitor manager and will be dependent upon the requirements for retail assistants at Buckingham Palace as and when required.”

Buckingham palace, however, is not alone in this practice as the Tate Galleries catering service, the UK’s second biggest cinema chain Cineworld, and retailer Sports Direct have also come under fire for employing staff on zero-hours terms .

Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, called for the contracts to be made illegal, saying that they should be outlawed for the damage they cause to the families.

“Many people on zero-hours contracts are on the lowest wages in our economy, making them the least able to cope with financial shocks like a drastic cut in hours from one week to the next. This has a damaging impact on family life, and on people’s spending, bad news for our economy and our society,” Prentis said.

According to an earlier tudy by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), 200,000 staff work on zero-hours contracts in Britain. The revelations, however, suggest the true number should be far higher than previously estimated by the ONS .

 

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Argentine and Brazilian Doctors Name Larvicide as Potential Cause of Microcephaly

A report from the Argentine doctors’ organisation, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns,[1] challenges the theory that the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil is the cause of the increase in the birth defect microcephaly among newborns.

The increase in this birth defect, in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head and often has brain damage, was quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. However, according to the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, the Ministry failed to recognise that in the area where most sick people live, a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen, is used in a State-controlled programme aimed at eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes.

The Physicians added that the Pyriproxyfen is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese “strategic partner” of Monsanto. Pyriproxyfen is a growth inhibitor of mosquito larvae, which alters the development process from larva to pupa to adult, thus generating malformations in developing mosquitoes and killing or disabling them. It acts as an insect juvenile hormone or juvenoid, and has the effect of inhibiting the development of adult insect characteristics (for example, wings and mature external genitalia) and reproductive development. It is an endocrine disruptor and is teratogenic (causes birth defects), according to the Physicians.

The Physicians commented: “Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added Pyriproxyfen to drinking water are not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on the Zika virus for this damage.”

They also noted that Zika has traditionally been held to be a relatively benign disease that has never before been associated with birth defects, even in areas where it infects 75% of the population.

Since 2014, the insecticide Pyriproxyfen has been use to kill mosquitos in water tanks in Brazil

Larvicide the most likely culprit in birth defects

Pyriproxyfen is a relatively new introduction to the Brazilian environment; the microcephaly increase is a relatively new phenomenon. So the larvicide seems a plausible causative factor in microcephaly – far more so than GM mosquitoes, which some have blamed for the Zika epidemic and thus for the birth defects. There is no sound evidence to support the notion promoted by some sources that GM mosquitoes can cause Zika, which in turn can cause microcephaly. In fact, out of 404 confirmed microcephaly cases in Brazil, only 17 (4.2%) tested positive for the Zika virus.

Brazilian health experts agree Pyriproxyfen is chief suspect

The Argentine Physicians’ report, which also addresses the Dengue fever epidemic in Brazil, concurs with the findings of a separate report on the Zika outbreak by the Brazilian doctors’ and public health researchers’ organisation, Abrasco.[2]

Abrasco also names Pyriproxyfen as a likely cause of the microcephaly. It condemns the strategy of chemical control of Zika-carrying mosquitoes, which it says is contaminating the environment as well as people and is not decreasing the numbers of mosquitoes. Abrasco suggests that this strategy is in fact driven by the commercial interests of the chemical industry, which it says is deeply integrated into the Latin American ministries of health, as well as the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organisation.

Abrasco names the British GM insect company Oxitec as part of the corporate lobby that is distorting the facts about Zika to suit its own profit-making agenda. Oxitec sells GM mosquitoes engineered for sterility and markets them as a disease-combatting product – a strategy condemned by the Argentine Physicians as “a total failure, except for the company supplying mosquitoes”.

The poor suffer most

Both the Brazilian and Argentine doctors’ and researchers’ associations agree that poverty is a key neglected factor in the Zika epidemic. Abrasco condemned the Brazilian government for its “deliberate concealment” of economic and social causes: “In Argentina and across America the poorest populations with the least access to sanitation and safe water suffer most from the outbreak.” The Argentine Physicians agreed, stating, “The basis of the progress of the disease lies in inequality and poverty.”

Abrasco added that the disease is closely linked to environmental degradation: floods caused by logging and the massive use of herbicides on (GM) herbicide-tolerant soy crops – in short, “the impacts of extractive industries”.

The notion that environmental degradation may a factor in the spread of Zika finds backing in the view of Dino Martins, PhD, a Kenyan entomologist. Martins said that “the explosion of mosquitoes in urban areas, which is driving the Zika crisis” is caused by “a lack of natural diversity that would otherwise keep mosquito populations under control, and the proliferation of waste and lack of disposal in some areas which provide artificial habitat for breeding mosquitoes”.

 

daily alternative | alternative news – Argentine and Brazilian Doctors Name Larvicide as Potential Cause of Microcephaly

via Argentine and Brazilian Doctors Name Larvicide as Potential Cause of Microcephaly.

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