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(en) Britain, Catalyst #11 - Overwork = madness, Pension-snatchers, Asbestos death - of an office worker, Formaldehyde kills

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Wed, 25 Aug 2004 11:37:35 +0200 (CEST)


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Overwork = madness - A survey, Whose Life is it
Anyway?, compiled by the Menta
Health Foundation, has found tha
Britains intense work culture is
having very serious effects on
mental health. In what is already
the EUs hardest working country
(in hours, at least), 61% of
workers interviewed were
suffering severe disruption to thei
personal lives due to having to
work excessively long hours. This
is hardly surprising - between
2001 and 2003, the number of
people working more than 60
hours increased from 1 in 8 to 1
in 6. Within the same period, the
number of women working over
60 hours doubled.
The report found that 48% of
people sacrifice exercise to work
longer hours, with 45% saying
they lost time with partners and
42% losing contact with friends
and other social activities due to
overwork. A clear linkage was
established, finding that workers
experiencing pressure of
overwork are more likely to suffer
specific mental health problems,
including from irritability and
anxiety, to depression, to
attempted suicide.

Pension-snatchers
It looks as if Labour has finally
overcome the problem of funding
pensions. By raising the age of
retirement to 70, Labour hopes
that we will all drop dead before
we are able to draw them. The
treasury has commissioned
reports from several right wing
pensions experts who, surprise
surprise, argued for an increase
in the age of retirement. As one
of them shamelessly put it, the
role of the state is to alleviate
poverty and not to fund a long
and active retirement with a good
standard of living.
Research has shown that one
in five people and nearly one in
three men will die before they
retire, if the pensions age is
raised. Just think of the savings!
Better still, pushing up the
retirement age will hit the poor
disproportionately. In Britains
more deprived areas, the death
rate at 70 is almost half of men
and more than a third of the
population as a whole. The fact
that it will hit the prols hardest will
prove a big selling point to
Labours natural constituency, the
average Daily Mail reader.

Formaldehyde kills
It has now been accepted
that Formaldehyde, a chemical
to which millions of workers are
exposed to, causes cancer. The
International Agency for
Research on Cancer had
already concluded that
formaldehyde was probably
carcinogenic to humans, but new
studies have now found hard
evidence showing that
formaldehyde causes
nasopharyngeal cancer in
humans.
Formaldehyde is used mainly
in the production of resins that
are used as adhesives and
binders for wood products, pulp,
paper, glasswool and rockwool.
It is also used extensively in the
production of plastics and
coatings, in textile finishing, in the
manufacture of industrial
chemicals, and as a disinfectant
and preservative (formalin) used
in labs and in morgues for
embalming.

Asbestos death - of an office worker
A health-conscious pensioner
died after developing the
asbestos cancer mesothelioma,
decades after breathing in
asbestos from the clothes of
shipyard workers. Alison Corbett
worked for just seven years in
the offices of a shipyard more
than 40 years ago. Ms Corbetts
only contact with asbestos
workers was when they came
into the office with wages queries
and other enquires. This tragic
death demonstrates yet again
that even limited exposure to
asbestos can kill (see previous
Cats).
Meanwhile, the Canadian
government has confirmed it will
try to block a global agreement
that aims to curtail trade in the
deadly chrysotile (white)
asbestos. Lobbying led by the
Canadian government and
asbestos industry bodies
succeeded last year in blocking
the addition of chrysotile to the
list of Prior Informed Consent
substances covered by the
Rotterdam Convention. It has
now said it will try and repeat the
manoeuvre at the follow up
meeting, scheduled for late
September - despite the fact that
this substance continues to kill
millions across the planet.

Catalyst is produced for workers everywhere,
by workers in the Solidarity Federation. To join
SolFed, for info, for copies of Catalyst or to send
ontributions, contact: 07984 675 281. Catalyst, SF,
PO Box 29, SW PDO, Manchester M15 5HW.
olfed@solfed.org.uk
Basic rights leaflet - free copies: SolFed,
PO Box 1095, Sheffield S2 4YR. solfed@solfed.org.uk

=================================
Freesheet of the anarchist Solidarity Federation - IWA September 2004


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