International News

JORDAN: CHLORINE GAS LEAK KILLS 12, AFTER STORAGE TANK FALLS, INJURES 251 MORE

A tank filled with 25 tonnes of chlorine gas fell while being transported at Aqaba port, a major transit route for Iraqi imports and exports. A video posted on state television's Twitter page showed a storage tank falling from a winch and slamming into the deck of a ship, followed by yellow gas rising into the air as people ran away. Chlorine is a widely used disinfectant and water purification agent, but if inhaled, the gas turns to hydrochloric acid, which can lead to internal burning and drowning through a reactionary release of water in the lungs. Specialised teams are still dealing with the leak, the Civil Defence service said on its Facebook page. Evacuation aeroplanes were being sent into Aqaba, state television said.

Source: Reuters. Posted Tue 28 Jun 2022 at 7:18am

SLOVENIA: SIX PEOPLE CONFIRMED DEAD IN CHEMICAL PLANT BLAST

State news agency STA reported the explosion occurred in the town of Kocevje at the Melanin plant which produces chemicals used in paints, rubber and several other industries. Police found the bodies of five people who were missing after the explosion. A sixth person died of their injuries and five others were also injured, one of whom remains in serious condition. Firefighters quickly extinguished the fire and the army decontaminated the surrounding area. An investigation is under the way.

Source: May 13 (Reuters)

UK: PARLIAMENT ‘AN UNSAFE WORKPLACE’, SAY UNIONS

In an all too familiar story for Australians, UK Parliament must act to stop the ‘seemingly endless’ allegations of sexual misconduct by MPs as political parties cannot be trusted to make it a safe place to work, two unions have warned. As No 10 admitted Boris Johnson had known about allegations against Chris Pincher before making him deputy chief whip, the FDA and Prospect said politicians were time and again failing to “deal properly with sexual misconduct by one of their own”. In a joint letter to the House of Commons Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle, Dave Penman and Mike Clancy, general secretaries of FDA and Prospect respectively, wrote: “If the parties will not act, then parliament must, by taking a zero-tolerance approach to sexual misconduct by MPs and by taking seriously its responsibility to provide a safe workplace for those working there.”

Source: Prospect news release. The Guardian.

UK FILM INDUSTRY RETHINK ON WORKING CULTURE

The British Film Institute (BFI) has acknowledged that long hours working remains a persistent problem for the industry and that more support should be provided for its freelance workforce. The BFI’s Skills Review examined the needs for training and skills development across the production sector for scripted film and high-end television and made recommendations to address increasing pressure on the industry. Spencer MacDonald, national secretary with the creative industries union Bectu, welcoming the review, adding: “We urgently need a rethink of the industry’s working culture to create lasting and meaningful change for crew. It is critical that employers work in partnership with the workforce and its representatives to establish healthier working practices and shore up the industry for the future.”

Source: Bectu news release.

SPECIAL COVID LEAVE SCRAPPED FOR NHS ENGLAND STAFF

Enhanced sick pay provided to NHS staff during the Covid-19 pandemic has been axed. The special pay arrangements were offered to staff who were off work sick with either Covid or long Covid during the pandemic. Staff received pay if they were isolating from the virus and a full 12 months pay if they had long Covid. But from 7 July staff will revert to normal contractual sick pay arrangements. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the changes were part of learning to live with Covid. It comes as Covid infections and hospital admissions are rising, driven by two new fast-spreading sub-variants of Omicron - BA.4 and BA.5.

Source: BBC News Online. Evening Standard.

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