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Issue:- 12 December 2013

Europe decides not to meddle

IN a blow for Eurosceptics everywhere, an influential EU agency has decided that a popular diet drink sweetener is safe and needs no further regulation.  Fears have been voiced that use of aspartame could be linked to cancer or damage to the nervous system.  But the expert body set up to give definitive advice to the EU and governments about food products and additives has dismissed the concerns.  The European Food Safety Agency says that studies confirm that the flavouring, also known as E951, is safe for human consumption when used normally.  The agency found that many of the by products in aspartame that gave rise to concern could be found in even higher concentrations in fruit and vegetables.  Southport Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies welcomed the findings, saying they would benefit consumers of diet drinks.  Davies said:- "This is a good example of where the EU makes things easier and simpler for consumers and businesses alike.  Food manufacturing is a major UK business and EFSA advice promotes common standards across Europe that benefits trade and jobs.  Use of sugary drinks is a significant factor in growing levels of obesity, so it is reassuring to know that the most popular low calorie alternative to sugar poses no risk to health."


UK government hypocrisy on EU free movement beggars belief and the public needs to know as actions in Brussels contrasts sharply with their words to a UK audience on migration from Romania and Bulgaria says GMB.  A majority of employment ministers from EU member states, meeting in Brussels on Monday, 9 December 2013, agreed watered down proposals on the Posting of Workers Enforcement Directive. This deals with terms and conditions for workers from one member state working in other member states. These proposals will now go to be the subject of final negotiations between the EU Parliament and Council of Ministers. After GMB members experience at Lindsey Oil Refinery and other sites GMB will press MEPs to support more scope for member states to be able to apply and enforce national control measures, on the basis of a truly open list, that prevent social dumping of workers. GMB will also ask MEPs to support joint and several liability to apply throughout the subcontracting chain for contractors and subcontractors found abusing workers and denying them their pay, conditions and protections. The current proposals restrict this to first level contracting and, at the request of UK Government, only to the construction sector; the abuse is not limited to this sector and needs to be applied more widely.  Kathleen Walker Shaw, GMB European officer in Brussels, said:- "UK employers are actively recruiting workers either directly or via temporary agencies from EU countries with lower wages and social contributions to boost their profits at the expense of exploited workers.  The UK Government at the meeting pressed for even further watering down in the Directive. They did not want to restrict the ability of business to abuse vulnerable posted workers from other EU countries and to run down pay and conditions in Britain at will.  As far as GMB and the wider European trade union movement are concerned these enforcement measures agreed by Governments don't go far enough. Yet here is the UK Government spurning even these weak provisions.  The hypocrisy of the UK Government on free movement is breath taking.  People in Britain need to be told about it. Their actions in Brussels contrasts sharply with their words to a UK audience on migration from Romania and Bulgaria.  GMB will press MEPs and Ministers of EU Governments to tighten up the directive for member states to be able to apply and enforce national control measures and for joint and several liability to apply throughout the subcontracting chain for contractors and subcontractors.  As the general election approaches there needs to be more pressure on the UK Government to support measures to stop companies undermining pay and conditions in the UK where living standards are already under threat.  The only way to stop exploitation of UK and migrant workers is to level up rather than calling for workers across Europe to be sold off to the lowest bidder in a race to the bottom of pay and conditions."


MERSEYSIDE Police have released an e-fit image of a man it would like to speak to following an assault at a house in Sefton. Officers were called to an address on Coney Crescent, Thornton, a number of times during October following reports a woman living there had seen the same man in her back garden. Then, at around 7.15pm on Tuesday, 29 October 2013, patrols were again called following the woman seeing the man in her garden. When she went out to ask him what he was doing, he grabbed her chin and shouted at her before running off. Detective Constable Jamie Dean from Sefton CID said:- "These incidents have, understandably, left the woman very upset and shaken. She has now compiled an e-fit picture of the offender and I would appeal to anyone who may know who it is to get in touch with us. She has also described him as having a number of tattoos on his hands." Anyone with information which could help the Police with their inquiries is asked to contact Sefton CID on:- 0151 777 3011 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on:- 0800 555 111.

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