New figures released by the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reveal an increase in the number of journalists murdered because of their work. The rise in deaths marks a shift from a decline in recent years: rising from 47 last year. Anthony Bellanger, IFJ general secretary, said: 'The surge in the killings of journalists and other media workers is a grave cause of concern and yet another wake up call for governments across the globe to take action in the defence of journalism, one of the key pillars of democracy.'
Source: IFJ news release
US: CONGRESS EFFECTIVELY CUTS OSHA BUDGET FOR 2ND STRAIGHT YEAR
The US Congress is on the verge of approving an appropriations bill that provides a mere 3.2% increase for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) the agency responsible for ensuring ‘safe and healthful working conditions’ - starved of funding for well over a decade. The FY 2023 budget gives the agency $632,309,000, only $20 million more than FY 2022, almost 10% less than President Biden requested, and 13% less than the House proposal. To put that all in perspective, OSHA's budget comes to about 4-millionths of 1% of the entire $1.4 trillion budget. Elon Musk bought Twitter for over 60 times OSHA's annual budget. The news comes only days after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a significant increase in the numbers and rates of workers killed on the job in 2021. Given the current inflation rate of over 7%, the FY 2023 budget comes to roughly a 4% cut in the agency's budget.
Source: Confined Space Blog 20 Dec 2022
SCOTLAND: £3.5M PAYOUT FOR STONE MASON WITH SILICOSIS
A stone mason who was exposed to dust while working at Elgin Cathedral has accepted a £3.5m compensation payout. Thompsons Solicitors Scotland, brought in by Gordon Walters’ union PCS to act in the case, said he worked on the renovation and maintenance of the cathedral in the Moray town in the 1980s. The Scottish government confirmed ministers had agreed to settle the case, which predated the public body which now operates the cathedral. Thompsons said it was believed to be among the largest settlements for a worker diagnosed with silicosis and systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Mr Walters said he been through absolute hell with the conditions he developed, which had ravaged his body.
Source: BBC News Online
GLOBAL: UNIONS BACK CALL ON BANNED PESTICIDES
Global farming union IUF and more than 325 trade unions and NGOs worldwide have issued a joint statement calling for an immediate ban on the export of toxic pesticides banned in the European Union (EU). Paraquat, the most toxic of pesticides for which there is no antidote if people are exposed, is still being exported despite being banned for use in the EU since 2007. The joint statement also calls for the prohibition on the export of banned chemicals to be complemented by just transition measures to support a move away from hazardous chemicals.
Source: IUF news release