Hungry Bellies: New report debunks myth of falling economic inequality

Unite warns against ‘using wrong tools to ask wrong questions to come up with wrong answers’

In a new report, Hungry Bellies are not Equal to Full Bellies, published today (Thursday), Unite presents evidence to counter claims that inequality in Ireland is falling, and instead shows that economic inequality is unacceptably high and growing. An online event will be held at 8 pm on Monday 1 March to discuss the findings in the paper and the lived experiences of those facing inequality, deprivation and discrimination.  The event will be hosted by Vincent Browne and participants will include Professor Kathleen Lynch, Louise Bayliss of SPARK, Ber Grogan of the Basket Brigade and a representative of Inner City Helping Homeless.  The event will be broadcast live on Unite’s Facebook page.

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Workers welcome successful conclusion of industrial dispute Newry, Mourne and Down District Council

Management commits to address all workforce concerns in comprehensive agreement to end dispute

Kieran Ellison Unite Regional Officer

Any council worker who loses out in the management-trade union led job evaluation process will receive between £500 and £7,500 in compensation

Trade unions representing workers at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council issued the following statement concluding their industrial action after management moved to address longstanding pay and conditions issues, some of which were inherited from the formation of the council in 2015.

“The four trade unions have concluded our industrial dispute after management at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council moved to address our members’ issues. This dispute centred on a number of issues: the flawed job evaluation process with no panels and no input into job descriptions, threats to allowances, the application of the council’s redundancy policy, adherence to TUPE policies, and pay equality for workers from both legacy councils including recognition of service.

“Management has agreed with trade union side to pursue a job evaluation process similar to that in other council areas; they have agreed that all roles, responsibilities and duties which currently attract allowances will continue to do so; that trade unions will have a role in drawing up job descriptions; and that negotiations will open on a new redundancy policy, without any preconditions.

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Self-isolating workers at Nu-track must receive full pay when they are off work

George Brash, Unite Regional Officer

Outbreak at Ballymena bus factory results in ten positive cases and three-day shutdown

George Brash, Unite Regional Officer challenged Nu-Track management to take immediate measures to properly address an outbreak at the Ballymena bus manufacturer.

“Unite has consistently raised concerns in regard to Covid-19 infection control measures at Nu-Track. In particular we objected to work practices such as excessive numbers working on buses which flouted social-distancing guidelines.

“We are therefore not surprised at the fact that an outbreak has been confirmed at the factory. In response to ten workers testing positive for the virus, management have closed the site for a period of 3 days to facilitate a deep-cleanse.

“It is vital that full pay is provided to all workers who have to self-isolate for the duration of their absence from work. It is totally unacceptable that workers are being left reliant on statutory sick pay of a mere £95.85 a week. No worker who wants to do the right thing and self-isolate should have to face the price of putting themselves and their families into poverty as a result.

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As driving test backlog mounts, RSA cancels tests because “it’s too cold”

Essential workers frozen out of essential driving tests

February 15th: Unite, which represents driving instructors throughout Ireland, today slammed the Road Safety Authority’s decision to cancel driving tests for essential workers due to recent cold weather.  Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Jean O’Dowd said:

“According to the most recent figures, the driving test backlog is over 64,000 with waiting times of approximately 25 weeks, compared to just six weeks this time last year.

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Building Momentum: Unite members vote to accept proposals

Unite will be working to ensure agreement delivers for members

Union reiterates demand for repeal of FEMPI

February 12th: Unite today (Friday) announced that members working in the public sector have voted to accept the proposed public sector agreement, Building Momentum.  The vote was 75.2% in favour of the proposals, and Unite will therefore be casting its vote in favour of the agreement at the meeting of ICTU’s Public Services Committee on Monday 15 February.

A meeting of Unite public sector reps in January had decided not to issue any recommendation prior to balloting.

Commenting on the ballot result, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne said:

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