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Union of teachers orders a two-day spanning strike at Junior College

Union of teachers orders a two-day spanning strike at Junior College
Jan 24 2022 Share

After negotiations on a new collective agreement were stalled, the Malta Union of Teachers has ordered a strike among lecturers working at Junior College. 

Around 160 lecturers working at the Sixth Form will be foregoing lessons over the upcoming hours, with the MUT holding a 2 hour strike on Monday between 11am and 1pm and another full day strike on Tuesday. 

This comes after earlier this month, MUT declared an industrial dispute over failed talks on a collective agreement. The initial dispute meant staff members were informed to refrain from answering any calls or emails, uploading or handing assessment marks, returning attendances and attending departmental meetings. 

MUT President Marco Bonnici said that the previous collective agreement expired two years ago, pointing at the University of Malta for using the pandemic as an excuse to delay negotiations. Turnovers in the education ministry also delayed negotiations. 

Bonnici revealed that discussions were held with new Education Minister Clifton Grima, but ‘the stubbornness coming from some people meant no progress was made’ he revealed. 

The MUT would continue meeting with members throughout the strike. Bonnici, acknowledging hat students have already spent two years in and out of lectures, said that a school wide strike was the only option to ensure progress. 

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NHS staff throw uniforms at Downing Street during anti-vaccine mandate protest

NHS staff throw uniforms at Downing Street during anti-vaccine mandate protest
Jan 24 2022 Share

Thousands of NHS workers protested against the compulsory COVID jabs across the country, with healthcare staff throwing their uniforms (colloquially known as scrubs) at police outside Downing Street in London. 

Chanting against vaccine mandate, protestors in cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds could be seen holding signs which say things like ‘Heroes to zeros – from clapping to sacking.’ With formal warnings of dismissal due to be issued from next month as more than 80,000 staff remain unvaccinated, Boris Johnson could make another last minute change on compulsory vaccines for the NHS. 

As the situation stands, all frontline workers are required to have both doses of the jab by April 1st. This means that by February 3rd the first dose must have been administered. NHS guidance states notices will be issued from February 4th, with March 31st marking the end of the notice period. 

Meanwhile, unvaccinated NHS workers who lose their jobs in England could end up working in Wales. Wales’ first minister said he would not rule out recruiting staff who left their jobs because of the mandatory vaccination policy in England. 

The UK’s Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab urged NHS staff in England who have not had their vaccine to do so, playing down suggestions the April 1 deadline could be postponed. However, NHS representatives warned the policy could force thousands of frontline workers to leave their jobs at a time when patient demand is high. In Wales, latest figures show that a total of 2,504,081 people received one dose of the vaccine, with 2,349,478 having had two. In terms of the booster shot, 1,800,848 received the third shot. 

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Photo Source: Getty Images, EPA

Red wine could help fight risks of COVID-19 infection says study

Red wine could help fight risks of COVID-19 infection says study
Jan 24 2022 Share

Despite warning against drinking in excess, red wine lovers have been given a massive green card by one study which suggests that red wine is among the alcoholic drinks which could reduce the risk of COVID infection. A study published in Frontiers in Nutrition observed medical records of 473,957 people through the UK Biobank. The report studied drinking habits of people throughout the course of the pandemic. 

It came out suggesting that people who consumed five or more glasses of red wine per week were around 17% less likely to be at risk from the virus compared to people who don’t. The reduced risk could be due to the drink’s high polyphenol content, which can inhibit the likes of the flu and other respiratory conditions. Consumption of white wine and champagne above recommended alcohol guidelines also decreased COVID risk. 

However, we have some bad news for pint lovers, as those who drank any amount of beer or cider were at an alleged increased risk at 28% compared to non-drinkers. Those who drank five glasses of spirits or more per week were also said to increase the risk from the virus. The report recommended against heavy drinking in general during a pandemic, as those who consumed alcohol double the guidelines had a higher risk from COVID. 

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WATCH: Hundreds take to Valletta’s street protesting vaccine restrictions

Hundreds take to Valletta’s street protesting vaccine restrictions
Jan 24 2022 Share

Yesterday 23rd January 2022, hundreds took to the streets of Malta’s capital city to protest the newly imposed COVID-19 restrictions. 

A massive crowd packed Republic Street and eventually in front of the Sette Giugno monument in St George’s Square, with protestors chanting cries of freedom, holding up placards touting human rights breaches and even signing a petition against vaccination rules. 

With participants booing at any mention of Health Minister Chris Fearne or Prime Minister Robert Abela, the protest comes just as health authorities alluded to a measure exit plan being announced this week. 

 

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With stereos booming songs such as ‘I Want To Break Free’, many criticised the booster measures, pointing out how many workers were forced to take the third jab due to working directly with customers. 

Yesterday, the Prime Minister reiterated Fearne’s revelation that the roadmap to ease restrictions will be announced this week. He stated that he is excited to discuss the transition of treating COVID more like an endemic like the seasonal influenza rather than the pandemic. 

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