Euro-MPs agree to close loopholes on rights for ‘posted’ foreign workers in London

MEMBERS of the European Parliament have called on national governments to enforce rules designed to protect foreign workers posted overseas from ruthless employers.

The decision should give so-called ‘Posted Workers’ – those temporarily sent by an employer to work in a different country – the same rights as anyone else at work.

It will protect them from tax scams, ensure they are paid at least the minimum wage, given holidays and so on.

London’s Green MEP Jean Lambert said there were a large but ever-changing number of ‘Posted Workers’ in the capital, and that many had suffered exploitation.

Ms Lambert, a member of the European Parliament’s Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said: “This new legislation is an important step forward for the rights of those posted to work temporarily in other EU member states.

Proper enforcement of EU rules on posted workers will help prevent the exploitation of posted workers and ensure they are granted their rights.

With countless examples of exploitation, some here in London – most undocumented but particularly in the thriving construction and food processing sectors, it was essential for the EU to take action.”

She added: “The responsibility for ensuring ‘Posted Workers’ get the protection at work to which they are entitled rests very firmly with national governments – and they really need to co-operate better and ensure the rules are enforced.”

Citizens will suffer under rules aimed to boost flights from European airports, says South East MEP

The European Parliament today voted on revisions to EU rules dealing with airport noise. Green MEPs hit out at the agreement, which will enable the European Commission to overrule flight restrictions – such as night bans – at airports.

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, said:

“This review is a blow for all those European citizens living near airports. It will leave many more people being subjected to the noise, pollution and all other miseries caused by planes.

“Instead of working to ensure stronger EU rules, to reduce the nuisance, pollution, health problems and safety risks posed by airports, the European Commission gave in to heavy lobbying from the aviation industry and the US administration.  Now MEPs and EU governments have cleared these wrong-headed plans for take-off.”

Commenting on the UK context, where the Airports Commission is considering increased aviation capacity, Mr Taylor added:

“This vote today in Brussels takes on an added significance in the context of the UK Government’s desire to cater for ever-increasing numbers of flights. A new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow would leave more people affected by noise and air pollution and more climate-damaging pollution.

“This is exactly what European laws should be aiming to prevent, and today’s vote is a source of regret to this end. We can’t just keep catering for rising growth in flying. Instead, we need to reduce demand and explore how aviation could function within environmental limits.”

ENDS

Food bank surge an ‘indictment’ of British economy, say Greens

New figures from the Trussel Trust, released today, show a surge in the number of people using food banks in the UK.

 

Over 900,000 adults and children have received three days’ emergency food and support from Trussell Trust food banks in the last 12 months, a shocking 163 percent rise on numbers helped in the previous financial year. [1]

 

Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s MEP for South East England and author of the ‘Food Bank Britain’ report released earlier this year [2], said:

 

“These shocking new figures are an indictment of the British economy. Whilst Ministers pat themselves on the back this so-called economic ‘recovery’ is clearly leaving millions behind.

 

Across the UK we’re seeing people facing benefits cuts, tougher sanctions and wage stagnation. At the same time bills are going up every month. It’s no wonder that so many people are struggling to feed their families.

 

It is clear that the British economy is failing to work for the common good. While some people at the top continue to thrive many millions are suffering the lingering effects of an financial crisis they didn’t cause.”

 

Mr Taylor, who will publish details of food bank use in South East England next week [3], went on to say:

 

“With every major political party except the Greens signed up to cutting away at the welfare state it’s clearly time to change direction. We need to build an economy that works for everyone, and provides people with a decent quality of life. That means making the minimum wage a Living Wage, providing decent social security for those who need it and taking action to cut people’s bills.

 

ENDS

 

1)      http://www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-figures-top-900000

2)      http://issuu.com/greenkeithmep/docs/food_bank_britain_final

Greens vote to protect cyclists: successfully

MEPs in the European Parliament have voted to support measures which will improve the design of lorries to make them safer for cyclists.

The new legislation, on the dimensions of trucks in Europe, will force manufactures to improve windows and mirrors to heighten cyclists’ visibility – which in turn could save hundreds of lives across Europe.

MEPs also voted to improve the efficiency of trucks and lorries, and vitally, voted to hold back measures which could pave the way for 25-meter long ‘mega-trucks’ to hit European roads.

Keith Taylor, Green Party member of the European Parliament’s Transport Committee, said:

“MEPs have voted today to introduce EU measures which will make cyclists more visible to lorry drivers. These improvements will reduce the number of accidents which sadly occur on our roads. 

In the UK alone, thousands of cyclists are seriously injured on our roads each year. It’s, therefore, good news that measures which will improve visibility for lorry drivers have been passed. It’s clear that we must make our streets safer and cleaner, and this can begin by making roads safer for cyclists. 

The Parliament also voted to postpone measures which would give the go-ahead to the cross-border movement of huge mega-trucks. Greens have been fighting hard to ensure that such measures were rejected, which would have put the HGV lobby before the interests of wider road-users.”

The European Parliament has required that an impact assessment is carried out before proposals on mega-trucks can be taken any further.

Mr Taylor, the Green Party MEP for South East England, added:

“The measures voted on today will make our streets safer for cyclists and, for the time being, halt moves to bring megatrucks to European roads. It’s clearly time for vulnerable road users to be protected and today’s vote is a first step in the right direction to making our streets safe for everyone.”

ENDS 

IPCC calls today for an energy revolution – in other words

So, the big news is in from the IPCC, and is top of the media today: the world needs to treble its renewable energy output, so that it can decommission fossil fuels: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/12/ipcc-report-world-must-switch-clean-sources-energy
You might call this a green energy revolution…
   Funny, that: I already did:
Have a read of my ‘An energy revolution in the East’ report, foreworded by Jonathon Porritt:
 

Air Pollution Death-figures out today: Eastern Greens Respond

Government must take responsibility for air pollution, says Green MEP-candidate
 
– MEP-lead-candidate Rupert Read says David Cameron should be ‘ashamed of himself’ for his flippant response to last week’s smog.
 
[[RUPERT READ IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW down the line or in studios ON THIS TOPIC.]]
 
Public Health England has released statistics today on the number of people dying because of air pollution. 
 
Across the UK it is estimated that 25,002 people died because of air pollution in 2010. [1]
That includes 2844 people, here in the East.
 
Rupert Read, the Green Party’s lead MEP-candidate for Eastern England and a clean air campaigner, said:
 
“These new statistics, which show that thousands of people are dying because of air pollution, make it clear that urgent action is needed to clean up our air. 
 
“The fact that thousands are dying because of air pollution should be a source of shame for Ministers. Yet, despite the mounting evidence of this major public health threat, the Government is doing far too little to reduce air pollution. 
 
“David Cameron, who last week flippantly blamed the smog entirely on Saharan Dust, should be ashamed of himself. The Government know that the smog last week was in part caused by the high levels of pollution we have in this country, yet, shamefully, Ministers refuse to accept responsibility. Now that these stats reveal thousands of deaths are caused by air pollution, it is time for Ministers to take this issue seriously and take urgent action to protect people’s health.”
 
In Mr Read’s constituency 2844 deaths in 2010 [the most recent year for which stats are available – the figures for this year are likely to be higher, because of recent air pollution events here in the East] were associated directly with air pollution. Public Health England’s report estimates that 5.6% of deaths in Eastern England were attributable to air pollution. That’s a total of 29,096 life-years lost.
Mr Read went on to say:
 
“With well over one in twenty deaths in my constituency caused by air pollution it is abundantly clear that action is needed. Many of our towns and cities need to radically rethink the way they are dealing with air pollution. To protect people’s health we need both the UK Government and local authorities to be bold in tackling air pollution.
 
“We need clean public transport options, plus a huge improvement in the numbers of people cycling and walking. We need what I have been calling for consistently: a green public transport revolution.
 
“It’s time we recognise that air pollution is a political issue. We can clean up our air, but we need to force politicians to take the issue seriously. Which only Greens do.”
 
ENDS
 
1) http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317141074607 : Figures are available for each local authority in the East, at pp.19-20.

For high quality (non copyright) photographs of Rupert please feel free to use any from his Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rupertread/

Taxpayer subsidy for new nuclearpowerstations ‘illegal’ under EU law, says Green MEP

 

A proposed taxpayer subsidy of more than a billion pounds to two new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point in Somerset would be illegal under EU law, according to London Green MEP Jean Lambert.

Adding her name to a submission made by scientists from University College London, Ms Lambert said the payment would distort the European energy sector and make it harder to invest in cleaner, safer, renewable energy in future.

The proposed subsidy would breach EU law,” she said, “and, as governments around the world are realising in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, would be promoting a dirty, unsafe energy technology at the expense of the renewable and community-level solutions we need to combat climate change and keep the lights on.”

Ms Lambert made her comments as more than 100 academics and politicians of all parties – including a number of Greens – responded to a European Commission consultation on the proposed funding of new nuclear power stations in the UK.

ENDS

Notes to Editors

The full consultation response is available here: http://jeanlambertmep.org.uk/document_detail.php?id=121

Jean Lambert is one of eight MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections and was re-elected in 2004 and 2009.

For an interview with Jean, a print-quality picture of Jean, or for further information please contact: Ben Duncan, Media & PR Officer to Jean Lambert MEP: 020 7250 8417 / 07917 881648 / media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk

www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk

Ben Duncan

Media Officer to Jean Lambert MEP

Green Member of the European Parliament for London

Can Mezzanine

49-51 East Road

London

N1 6AH

 

Office: 020 7250 8417

Mobile: 07917 881648

 

Email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk

Website: http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk  

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GreenJeanMEP

Twitter: @GreenJeanMEP

P Think of the environment, please don’t print this email unless you really need to.



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GREENS PUSH FOR ZERO-WASTE FOR NORFOLK

DEATH OF INCINERATOR OPENS NEW
OPPORTUNITIES

…THE GREEN PARTY HAS SET OUT A NEW TEN POINT PLAN FOR
DEALING WITH NORFOLK’S WASTE AFTER TODAY’S DECISION BY THE COUNTY
COUNCIL TO KILL OFF THE KINGS LYNN INCINERATOR PROJECT…

It would be
based on what is known as Zero Waste principles, to be developed in
co-operation with District Councils. It would involve a shift away from
a single industrial-scale solution such as incineration towards a
mixture of more localised facilities for boosting recycling and
reclamation, and mechanical biological solutions while, crucially,
helping householders produce less waste.

Green Party county councillor
Andrew Boswell said:

“The Greens have been consistent in their
opposition to incineration for ten years. Naturally, we are pleased that
the saga has finally come to an end with no incinerator built. However,
there’s no disguising the scale of the financial penalty the Council,
and Council tax payers, must pay. This was avoidable and a full Inquiry
is now needed.

“What I think we need now is a reformed team at the
council to work on an entirely new approach. Norfolk’s “Plan B” for
waste management could offer some imaginative new options that are both
environmentally friendly and profitable to local companies.”

It would
mean:

MOVING the treatment of Norfolk’s rubbish up the waste hierarchy
and meeting County targets for reducing and eliminating landfill;

ABANDONING single, industrial scale solutions, such as incineration;

ADOPTING a range of smaller, more localised solutions and contracts,
with local contractors and entrepreneurs. This means dealing with
rubbish closer to where it is generated. It also reduces the risk of
huge financial penalties as suffered with bloated projects such as the
incinerator with multi-national companies;

EXPANDING building on the
success of small to medium scale anaerobic digestion waste plants,
already happening in Norfolk, and on the food waste schemes happening in
Norwich and elsewhere;

EVALUATING the framework contract negotiated by
Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk with ‘Material Works’ as
a contractual model for implementing processing plants for green waste
across Norfolk’s districts;

DEVELOPING plans with providers who have
been ‘raring to go’ for years on creating reclamation and re-use schemes
– we should create several of these “Recovery Park” sites across
Norfolk;

INCREASING the recycling rate of 70% towards at least 80% by
the end of the decade;

WORKING with District Councils to reduce
residual household waste, building on the new strategy at Norwich City
Council that seeks to help householders generate less waste in first
place;

ESTABLISHING green sector business incubators, and encouraging
local entrepreneurs to work with the Local Enterprise Partnership and
others to deliver the new ways of working.;

AVOIDING incineration
technologies, such as those in Amsterdam or Suffolk, wherever possible,
where short-term interim solutions are required for Norfolk’s waste
whilst the new policy is developed.

Rupert Read, lead Green
MEP-candidate for the East of England, commented: “Alongside Andrew
Boswell, Adrian Ramsay, Michael De Whalley and a host of other Greens, I
have been working for this day for over a decade. Congratulations to all
the anti-incinerator campaigners in greater Norwich, in West Norfolk,
and elsewhere, who have worked tirelessly to stop this absurd outdated
technology from hungrily burning up all the resources that should
instead be re-used or re-cycled.
“But today is a day of humiliation
for the Labour Leader of the County Council, George Nobbs, and for the
Conservative ex-Leader, Bill Borrett. Their judgement has been shown to
be appallingly bad; it has cost the taxpayers of Norfolk millions of
pounds. It is time for them to move aside in this matter and let those
who judgement has been vindicated lead the way forward to a 21st century
zero-waste solution for Norfolk. I commend the Green 10-point-plan to
the people of Norfolk.”