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'New Health Bill seeks to deny workers right to strike' – NewsDay

BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
LEGAL think-tank Veritas has attacked the Health Service Amendment Bill saying it seeks to deny health sector workers the right to strike.

The Bill is still being scrutinised by the Parliamentary Legal Committee (PLC) for its constitutionality.

It intends to align the Health Service Act (Chapter 15:16) with the Constitution by classifying health delivery services under a commission, a major shift from the current position where it is under a board.

In its latest Bill Watch publication, Veritas observed that the Bill will alter the name of the Health Service Board and make its membership and functions similar to those of the Public Service Commission.

However, Veritas warned that the Health Services Commission might be less independent than the present board as its members would hold office at the President’s pleasure.

The watchdog said the Bill also sought to suppress health workers from speaking out or protesting against poor wages and working conditions.

“No collective job action whether lawful or unlawful shall continue for an uninterrupted period of 72 hours or for more than 72 hours in any given 14-day period; and notice of any collective job action must be given in writing 48 hours prior to the commencement of such collective job action,” the Bill read in part.

“Furthermore, by illegally declaring the Health Service to be an essential service, the Bill seeks to deprive service members of their right to strike, a right that is guaranteed by section 65 of the Constitution hence the Bill will make the Act less constitutionally compliant than it is at present.

“In regard to discussing the parameters of collective job action, if we assume, this means defining the limits of strike action that may be taken by members of the Health Service Commission, the Bill will actually confuse matters as we have shown, by substituting vague and unconstitutional prohibitions for the clear precepts of the Labour Act.”

Veritas, however, said the Bill was unlikely to cow government health professionals into accepting their unsatisfactory conditions of service and stop them from engaging in job action.

“Instead, it (Bill) may persuade them that government is not prepared to listen to their complaints and intends to resort to coercion. The Bill may, therefore, drive more of them to seek fortunes outside the country. Altogether this is not a satisfactory Bill,” it said.

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UK: Injured Zim International gets new Plymouth Argyle deal – New Zimbabwe.com

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By plymouthherald.co.uk

Defender Brendan Galloway will be doing all that he can to be fit again for pre-season this summer, according to Plymouth Argyle manager Steven Schumacher.

Galloway, 25, is setting out on a rehabilitation programme after an operation to repair a torn patellar tendon in one of his knees.

The Zimbabwe international has been boosted by signing a new contract with the Pilgrims this week which will take him through until June 2023.

Now, with his future settled, Galloway can concentrate on recovering from the injury he suffered in the 3-0 League One defeat by Wycombe Wanderers at Home Park in late November.

Galloway had previously been on a short-term deal with Argyle after joining them in pre-season as a free agent.

However, his impressive performances before his injury clearly warranted a longer contract and the club were ready to do that even though he will not play again this season.

Schumacher said: “It had been agreed for a couple of weeks, it’s just that he has been up north with his family in the early part of his rehab.

“He came back early on this week and the contract was there ready for him to sign. I’m pleased he has done it and made up for him, and now he can fully focus on getting himself fit again.”

With Galloway sidelined, Argyle have brought in 22-year-old Romoney Crichlow on loan from Huddersfield Town until the end of the season to compete for the place on the left side of defence with Macaulay Gillesphey.

All being well, Galloway will be ready for the start of the 2022/23 EFL campaign.

Schumacher said: “Speaking to the medical team, that’s their plan. They have got a rehab programme in place for Brendan that he will follow.

“Brendan is a good professional and he has been in this situation before where he knows how to get back to full fitness.

“It’s not something that’s new to him. I know he will be doing everything he can to get himself right for pre-season, and if he gets back in pre-season then we have got another real good player for our squad, ready to go.”

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Taiwan on COVID alert as domestic Omicron cases spike – NewsDay

Taiwan’s government ordered a tightening of controls on Saturday after a rare spike in domestic transmission of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, saying it needed to act now to prevent being overwhelmed even though overall numbers remain quite low.

After months of no or few community infections, Taiwan has seen a small rise in local COVID-19 cases since the start of the month, almost all Omicron, mainly linked to workers at the main international airport in the northern city of Taoyuan who were infected by arriving passengers.

The infections have gradually spread although numbers remain comparatively low with a dozen or so new cases a day, but on Friday evening the government announced 60 new cases at a factory near the airport after testing 1,000 workers.

There have been no deaths and most of the cases have had only mild or no symptoms.

Speaking to reporters, officials announced a series of new steps, including a ban on eating and drinking on public transport and limits on the number of people visiting temples, ahead of the week-long Lunar New Year holiday which starts at the end of this month.

Testing will be expanded to reach the largest number of possible contacts, said Health Minister Chen Shih-chung.

“Of course we think this pandemic is threatening, so we must raise our vigilance,” he said.

In a statement, Premier Su Tseng-chang said even though this outbreak has brought no serious illness, steps needed to be taken now.

“If the pandemic cannot be contained, it will still cause a burden on the medical system,” he said.

Taiwan has been highly successful at controlling the pandemic due to early and strict border checks and a well-oiled tracing system.

Current new daily cases are well below the middle of last year when thousands were infected during a three-month domestic outbreak, and life has carried on as normal for most people.

More than 70% of people in Taiwan have received two vaccine doses and booster shots are currently being rolled out, though only around 15% of residents have had their third shot so far.- Reuters

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Be brave, I was once an orphan too, little one! – Daily Mail

Be brave, I was once an orphan too, little one! Poignant image shows Kadiki the elephant wrapping her trunk around baby Beatrix to reassure her as she meets the rest of the herd in Zimbabwe

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