International News

USA: Staff and residents safer in unionised nursing homes

The substantial union safety effect has been confirmed in a study of Covid-19 infections in US nursing homes. The research, published in Health Affairs, examined whether unions for nursing home staff were associated with lower resident Covid-19 mortality rates and worker Covid-19 infection rates compared with rates in non-union nursing homes. A research team led by Adam Dean of George Washington University “found that unions were associated with 10.8 per cent lower resident Covid-19 mortality rates, as well as 6.8 per cent lower worker Covid-19 infection rates.”  They conclude: “With more than 75,000 Covid-19 deaths among residents in non-unionised nursing homes during our study period, our results suggest that industry-wide unionisation would have been associated with approximately 8,000 fewer resident deaths.

Adam Dean, Jamie McCallum, Simeon D. Kimmel, and Atheendar S. Venkataramani.  Resident Mortality And Worker Infection Rates From COVID-19 Lower In Union Than Nonunion US Nursing Homes, 2020–21, Health Affairs, Published online ahead of print, 20 April 2022. Jacobin magazine. More on the union safety effect.

Source: Risks -the TUC's weekly newsletter for safety reps  

UK: PCS backs call for Covid safety pledge

Independent SAGE - a group of scientists providing advice to UK government on minimising COVID deaths - is calling on employers to sign up to a Covid safety pledge to ensure safe work spaces for their employees, customers and other users. The civil service union PCS, which is backing the initiative, said “that while the UK government has decreed that the Covid crisis is over,” the facts on the ground show otherwise. “We are now formally writing to the Cabinet Office and Government Property Agency, which is responsible for the management of government property, to enter into talks to obtain a national civil service-wide agreement adopting the employer pledge and setting out national standards on its application,” PCS said, covering ventilation, paid sick leave and other issues.

Source: Risks -the TUC's weekly newsletter for safety reps  
PCS news release. Independent SAGE Covid-19 pledge to promote the creation of safe spaces at work.

Canada: Firms ignoring safety of new recruits

Almost 20 per cent of Canadian businesses do not offer the safety and orientation programmes legally required for new workers in much of the country, a survey has found. The research, commissioned by Threads of Life, a group that advocates for workplace safety, questioned hiring managers at 545 companies. Of these, 102 said their companies offer no orientation, onboarding, safety, emergency, hazard or illness and injury protocol training. Eric Tucker, a labour law professor at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, said for companies to admit openly that they don't offer training that's mandated by legislation shows there is “widespread lawbreaking” taking place.

Source: CBC News.

Kenya: Meta – formerly known as Facebook – face a lawsuit over the poor working conditions of content moderators

ETUI reports ‘Content moderators… spend hours a day navigating through the dark side of social networks, performing the brutal task of viewing posts perpetrating and perpetuating hate, misinformation and violence. They are bombarded with thousands of videos, images and livestreamed broadcasts of child sexual abuse, rape, torture, bestiality, beheadings, suicide and murder.

Social media platforms subcontract most of content moderation, a practice that keeps their profit margins high but at the cost of thousands of moderators' health. Over the past few years, stories of content moderators experiencing severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorders have repeatedly made the headlines.’

Read more here. Source: ETUI /News/May 03, 2022


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