Dear Editor,While in Guyana the jobless and beleaguered sugar workers are forced to protest for their lawful entitlements and are told by the Prime Minister, through his representative, that their concerns would be raised at Cabinet, our union’s attention is drawn to the situation regarding the workers of Petroleum Company of Trinidad and Tobago (Petrotrin). While the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union disagrees with reasons being advanced for the closure of the company’s refining operations and recognises that the closure will take a heavy toll on the workers, their families and their communities, we saw considered attempts by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to at least dampen the serious consequences of closure.On September 19, 2018, the media reported that Energy Minister Franklin Khan said Petrotrin and the Oilfeld Workers Trade Union (OWTU) were engaged in discussions regarding severance and said “…the State, Board and Government is willing to sit with the union… and possibly offer some enhancement to that package”. But in addition to a possible enhanced severance package, that country’s Social Development Minister, Cherrie Ann Crichlow-Cockburn, according to the report, shared that the Government had devised a plan which would offer the retrenched workers assistance to purchase food, to access public assistance and general assistance; would see vulnerable workers benefiting from an electricity subsidy; the workers would have access to health/wellness centres; they would receive advice on financial security; the Government would assist NGOs who in turn would set up soup kitchens and temporary shelters; and toll-free call centres for workers who require information on Government assistance.We also saw the Energy Minister in a report which appeared in the August 31, of sections of the media that those workers above 55 saying “…for people over 55, pay them off, and they’ll have their full pension”. From the Minister’s statement, he seems to say that workers beyond 55 will get both their severance and their pension.Indeed, while we know first-hand the serious difficulties of closure, we recognise that, from all indications, some serious attempts are being made to cushion the fall by our Caribbean counterpart. We sincerely hope all that is promised to the Petrotrin workers materialises, recognising our sad past with promises. Now for the 7000 sugar workers who have been put out onto the cold breadline, our caring Government is pushing workers to the brink; forcing them on the picket line to demand their lawful entitlements; engaging in all sort of legal gymnastics to further deny them their just payments, and then rubbing salt in the wound by saying their payments are haemorrhaging the country. It seems to us that it is the Government which is haemorrhaging the thousands of retrenched sugar workers.We urge our Government to take a page out of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago’s book and considerately treat our people in a humane manner at this difficult period in their lives.Yours faithfully,Seepaul NarineGeneral SecretaryGAWU
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India’s annual alcohol intake increased by 38 per cent between 2010 and 2017, according to a study published Wednesday which found the total volume of alcohol consumed globally per year has risen by 70 per cent since 1990. Published in The Lancet journal, the study of 189 countries’ alcohol intake between 1990-2017 and estimated intake up to 2030 suggests that the world is not on track to achieve targets against harmful alcohol use. Between 2010 and 2017, alcohol consumption in India increased by 38 per cent – from 4.3 to 5.9 litres per adult per year, said researchers from TU Dresden in Germany. Over the same timescale, consumption increased slightly in the US (9.3-9.8 litres) and in China (7.1-7.4 litres), they said. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAs a result of increased alcohol consumption and population growth, the total volume of alcohol consumed globally per year has increased by 70 per cent — from 20,999 million litres in 1990 to 35,676 million litres in 2017. Intake is growing in low- and middle-income countries, while the total volume of alcohol consumed in high-income countries has remained stable. The estimates suggest that by 2030 half of all adults will drink alcohol, and almost a quarter (23 per cent) will binge drink at least once a month, researchers said. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAlcohol is a major risk factor for disease, and is causally linked to over 200 diseases, in particular non-communicable diseases and injuries, they said. “Before 1990, most alcohol was consumed in high-income countries, with the highest use levels recorded in Europe,” said study author Jakob Manthey, from TU Dresden. “However, this pattern has changed substantially, with large reductions across Eastern Europe and vast increases in several middle-income countries such as China, India, and Vietnam. “This trend is forecast to continue up to 2030 when Europe is no longer predicted to have the highest level of alcohol use,” said Manthey. He said the World Health Organization (WHO)’s aim of reducing the harmful use of alcohol by 10 per cent by 2025 will not be reached globally. Instead, alcohol use will remain one of the leading risk factors for the burden of disease for the foreseeable future, and its impact will probably increase relative to other risk factors. Over the same period, it also measured prevalence of people who did not drink for their whole lives or were current drinkers (ie, drank alcohol at least once a year) using surveys for 149 countries, and binge drinkers using surveys from 118 countries. In 2017, the lowest alcohol intakes were in North African and Middle Eastern countries (typically less than one litre per adult per year), while the highest intakes were in Central and Eastern European countries (in some cases more than 12 litres per adult per year). Globally, alcohol consumption is set to increase from 5.9 litres pure alcohol a year per adult in 1990 to 7.6 litres in 2030. However, intake varied regionally. Between 2010-2017, consumption increased by 34 per cent in southeast Asia, with increases in India, Vietnam and Myanmar.