Tag: Body

UK retail body steps up calls for government action on illegal pay

The UK’s largest retail trade body has stepped up its demands for urgent government action to end illegally low wages among garment workers in the UK, arguing that more than 10,000 people have been denied £27m in pay since July.

The British Retail Consortium and MP Lisa Cameron, chair of the all-party parliamentary group on textiles and fashion, have written to Priti Patel, home secretary, to repeat demands for the speedy introduction of a licensing scheme for UK-based textile manufacturers to safeguard factory workers’ pay.

It follows resurfaced reports of many garment workers being paid as little as £3.50 an hour, well below the national minimum wage of £8.72. The scandal has shaken fast-fashion retailer Boohoo, the largest buyer from Britain’s garment hub in Leicester, which is now scrambling to convince stakeholders it can clean up its supply chain after evidence of illegal work practices.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said the trade body had made similar calls in July backed by 50 cross-party MPs and peers as well as 40 retailers, which had not led to “any significant action from government to bring this injustice to an end — all the while garment workers are robbed of tens of millions of pounds in wages”.

The government on Sunday said it would respond to the BRC’s letter, sent on Friday, adding that it expected businesses to do “all they can to tackle labour abuse and exploitation in their supply chains”.

It said that it was “deeply concerned” by the reports of “illegal and unsafe working conditions for garment workers in Leicester”, and that perpetrators would face consequences “if evidence comes to light through the work of our new specialist task force, led by the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority”.

Boohoo is not part of the BRC but has previously also urged the government to license factories that supply them and ensure they meet “their legal obligations to their employees”.

The BRC has proposed a “fit to trade” licensing scheme to protect workers from “forced labour, debt bondage [and ensure] payment of national minimum wage, VAT, PAYE, national insurance, holiday pay and health and safety”.

A licence to operate for clothing factories would encourage retailers to once again source from the UK, the organisation argued, after notoriously bad labour standards in manufacturing hubs such as Leicester have contributed to many companies shifting production abroad.

Last year, the HMRC investigated 3,400 businesses for underpayment of workers and identified more than £21m in wage arrears — less than the sum workers in Leicester have lost out on in the past three months, according to the BRC.

“Right now, we have an opportunity to create a more ethical and sustainable fashion manufacturing industry in the UK, providing better jobs and boosting the economy at a time when it is needed most,” said Ms Cameron.

“Without urgent action thousands more people face exploitation,” she added.

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“The Past Few Years Have Been A Slow Decay Of A Free India And Its Body Politic”

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims

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Argentina farm body says grains tax cuts not enough, lambastes government

Adds context

BUENOS AIRES, Oct 2 (Reuters)Argentina’s main farm association said on Friday that government measures to cut export taxes on grains were inadequate and failed to address issues facing local farmers amid a grave economic crisis and strict capital controls.

The center-left government said on Thursday it would reduce the export levy on soybeans, soymeal and soyoil by 3 percentage points to 30% to stimulate stalled sales and bring in much-needed foreign currency.

Farmers in Argentina, the world’s top exporter of processed soy, have held back on selling their soy harvests, a concern for the government as foreign currency reserves dwindle amid the coronavirus pandemic and low confidence in the peso as the country heads for its third straight year of recession.

Argentina is also just emerging from a sovereign default after restructuring over $100 billion in foreign currency debt.

The Liaison Commission of Agricultural Entities, which incorporates the four main farming bodies, called the government’s plans “insufficient” and “isolated measures, which look like patches” rather than a comprehensive strategy.

“The lack of dollars is a consequence of the terrible export policies that have been taken, looking only at tax collection and discouraging growth of exportable production,” it said in a statement, adding it had not been consulted on the measures.

Argentina’s powerful farm sector has clashed with various governments before over taxes. Current President Alberto Fernández resigned from his position as then chief-of-staff in 2008 amid a fierce dispute with the industry over tax hikes.

The farm body said that the temporary reduction of some taxeswas of little help to farmers themselves, who have said many of the benefits will be soaked up by grain processors rather than growers.

Argentina is the world’s largest exporter of soybean meal and oil, the third largest of unprocessed soy beans and one of the most important sellers of beef, corn and wheat.

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Nicolas Misculin; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and John Stonestreet)

((adam.jourdan@thomsonreuters.com; +54 1155446882; Reuters Messaging: adam.jourdan.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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Peak mining body says federal laws protecting Aboriginal heritage do not need strengthening

Video: “Baker: Government is ‘undermining the rule of law’ by not consulting MPs” (Evening Standard)

“Baker: Government is ‘undermining the rule of law’ by not consulting MPs”



The national body representing hundreds of mining and mineral exploration companies in Australia has told a parliamentary inquiry it would be “overreach” to strengthen federal laws to protect Aboriginal heritage.

a canyon with a mountain in the desert: Photograph: PKKP Aboriginal Corporation/AFP/Getty Images

© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: PKKP Aboriginal Corporation/AFP/Getty Images

But at the same hearing into Rio Tinto’s destruction of a 46,000-year-old sacred site at Juukan Gorge, the Law Council of Australia argued the opposite, saying there was an “an urgent need” for federal government leadership on Indigenous cultural heritage protection.

a canyon with a mountain in the desert: The Juukan Gorge in Western Australia before it was destroyed by Rio Tinto in May.

© Photograph: PKKP Aboriginal Corporation/AFP/Getty Images
The Juukan Gorge in Western Australia before it was destroyed by Rio Tinto in May.

The law council said the commonwealth needed to ensure state and territory laws enshrined important principles such as self-determination and free, prior and informed consent of Aboriginal traditional owners.

Related: Rio Tinto kept loading explosives at Juukan Gorge after promising to stop, traditional owners say

The Australian Mining and Exploration Council (Amec), which represents more than 275 companies in regional and remote Australia, said the current legal system provided enough protection and could even be streamlined.

Amec’s chief executive, Warren Pearce, said the industry wanted to avoid duplication and the cost of complying with two heritage regimes.

But while Pearce said the federal government should take a hands-off approach to heritage legislation, he criticised its hands-off approach to supporting native title bodies, which has led to “chronic underfunding” and “suboptimal outcomes”.

Pearce was “very aware” that Amec members were reviewing all the current approvals they had been given by the WA government to destroy Aboriginal heritage after the Juukan gorge disaster, in order to re-engage with traditional owners.

“Juukan Gorge was an extreme example,” Pearce said. “In the vast majority of cases that does not take place.

“There are thousands of heritage sites under management, being avoided, and without disturbance, for which [section 18] approvals [which allow companies to interfere with heritage sites] have been given but not actioned.”

When asked whether hundreds of sites that are under s18 – about which traditional owners are unable to speak up due to legacy agreements which contain so-called gag clauses – may have been destroyed, or are still at risk, Pearce said: “I can’t deny that possibility.”

The law council said there was a “wide structural disconnect” between state and federal laws, which have “failed to incorporate recognition of the rights of First Nations peoples to land and waters”.

“These regimes have not kept pace with the paradigmatic change precipitated by the high court’s decision in Mabo,” its president, Pauline Wright, said.

The chair of its Indigenous committee, Tony McAvoy SC, said the commonwealth should “show leadership and adopt principles of free prior and informed consent, and acknowledge native title holders’ right to protect heritage” as a minimum.

But McAvoy also said it may be better to “start

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For Long-Haulers, Covid-19 Takes a Toll on Mind as Well as Body

Forty hours after treating her first coronavirus patient, on March 30, Angela Aston came home to her family with a cough. “Gosh, your throat is scratchy,” her husband told her. Right away she knew she had likely been infected with Covid-19. As a nurse practitioner, Ms. Aston, 50, was confident she knew how to handle her symptoms, and disappeared to her bedroom to quarantine and rest.

By day 50 of her illness, that confidence had disappeared. In late May, she was still experiencing daily fevers and fatigue. She went to bed each evening worried that her breathing would deteriorate overnight. Particularly frustrating was the difficulty she felt explaining to her colleagues, friends and family that after eight weeks she was still sick.

“I felt this stigma like, ‘I’ve got this thing nobody wants to be around,’” Ms. Aston said. “It makes you depressed, anxious that it’s never going to go away. People would say to my husband, ‘She’s not better yet?’ They start to think you’re making it up.”

Ms. Aston found psychological comfort in an online support group, founded by the wellness organization Body Politic, where more than 7,000 people share their experiences as Covid-19 “long-haulers,” whose sicknesses have persisted for months.

Along with sharing their physical symptoms, many in the support group have opened up about how their mental health has suffered because of the disease. Dozens wrote that their months of illness have contributed to anxiety and depression, exacerbated by the difficulties of accessing medical services and disruptions to their work, social and exercise routines.

Early on in the pandemic, a pervasive myth among patients and some health authorities was the idea that Covid-19 was a short-term illness. Only in recent months has more attention been given to long-haulers. In online support groups like Body Politic and Survivor Corps, long-haulers have produced informal surveys and reports to study their course of illness.

Natalie Lambert, a health researcher at Indiana University School of Medicine, recently surveyed more than 1,500 long-haul patients through the Survivor Corps Facebook page and found a number of common psychological symptoms. She found that anxiety was the eighth most common long-haul symptom, cited by more than 700 respondents. Difficulty concentrating was also high on the list, and more than 400 reported feeling “sadness.”

Dr. Teodor Postolache, a psychiatrist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, estimates that between one-third and one-half of Covid-19 patients experienced some form of mental health problem including anxiety, depression, fatigue or abnormal sleeping.

Those without Covid-19 infections are also seeing their mental health suffer amid the pandemic. A study published in June by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that symptoms of anxiety and depression nationwide increased significantly during April through June of 2020 compared with the same period last year. This study found that adverse mental health symptoms were disproportionately reported in young adults, Black and Hispanic adults and essential workers. The National Alliance on Mental Illness, a nonprofit organization, has seen a 65 percent

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