Sainsbury’s must clarify its continued commitment to Northern Ireland retail market after management announces plans to close Craigavon store

109 workers based in Craigavon face threat of joblessness in mouth of Christmas; Sainsbury’s must guarantee alternative employment elsewhere as well as meet redeployment costs

Taryn Trainor, Unite Regional Officer

Fears that Craigavon site closure may be a weathervane pointing to a wider retail threat posed as a result of Northern Ireland Protocol trade restrictions

Unite regional officer, Taryn Trainor, challenged Sainsbury’s over this morning’s announcement by the company that they plan to close their Craigavon supermarket. She called on the company to ensure the 109 workers affected are redeployed and face no detriment.

“This morning’s announcement will be hugely concerning news for the 109 workers at the Craigavon supermarket who now face the prospect of losing their livelihoods in the mouth of Christmas. Unite has been on the ground engaging with our members to charter a course to secure protections and guarantees from this employer.

“There is absolutely no excuse for this decision. Last year and despite the pandemic lockdown, the company still made a clear profit before tax of £356 million pounds. Sales have surged in the last quarter suggesting that the company will make even higher profits in the year to come. Sadly however, this company expects the workers employed at its Craigavon site to pay the price for increasing those profits even further – as their store is not judged profitable enough.

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Statement re: E&I Engineering Ltd

On various dates between 10 November 2020 and 1 May 2021 Unite the Union (“Unite”) made or permitted to be made a series of defamatory allegations about E&I Engineering Limited (“E&I”).  Those allegations were published in letters sent to key customers, suppliers and business partners of E&I, online and in pamphlets handed out to E&I’s staff.  Those allegations were that E&I was responsible for bullying of employees, persistently treating them with a lack of dignity and respect, and for using a pay grading system which was unfair.  

We withdraw these allegations which we accept should not have been made and unreservedly apology to E&I for any and all reputational damage which these allegations may have caused to E&I.  

As a result of the above, Unite has agreed to pay substantial damages and legal costs to E&I and furthermore has agreed that it will not repeat or further publish these allegations as referred to above.

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Unite community welcomes promises of £16 million investment for Albert basin park but calls on people of Newry to continue to mobilise to keep pressure on 

Unite Community proposals for a 15 acre park in the Albert Basin, Newry

Union confirms rally to proceed on Saturday October 23rd at 3pm at Marcus Square, High Street, Newry 

Campaigns call for mass show of strength by public support for action on a green space: to hold ‘politicians feet to the fire’ ensure their promises translate into reality

Unite Regional Community Coordinator, Albert Hewitt, confirmed that his union’s community activists were continuing with their planned rally for the Albert Basin park in Newry [on Saturday October 23rd] and called on members of the public to mobilise and not be put off by reports of a last ditch move on the green space after years of waiting.

“Our members in Newry – working with our industrial branch membership and other trade unions  – decided that action was needed to raise the demand for a 15 acre park to be developed on the Albert Basin in Newry. After they first announced the rally they received huge levels of support from local residents, schools and other community organisations.

“It is a disgrace to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council that they have left plans to develop the Albert Basin into public, green space on the back-burner for so many years. Newry is the only major city in Ireland, north or south, without a park or green space for the public. This has left people, in particular working-class people, in the city – and in surrounding areas – lacking access to what is a vital outdoor amenity. 

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Unite the union 2021 Champions’ Cup is launched at the National Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast

Expanded format for all-island football initiative announced bringing together football champions, north and south, for a series of three matches

The Aviva Stadium is drawn as the fixture for the December 4th Champions’ Cup final

October 14th: Speaking after today’s launch of the 2021 Champions’ Cup at Windsor Park, Unite Regional Secretary Jackie Pollock expressed his union’s pride in the initiative and hopes that the expanded format will facilitate even greater use of football as a vehicle to bring communities together and redress disadvantage.

“The Unite the union Champions’ cup promotes Diversity, Equality and Community and it does so through focussing on our common love of the beautiful game that is football. After an unavoidable one year hiatus due to the pandemic, we are relaunching the Champions’ cup in an expanded format. This year’s games set for November and December will see the leading teams, north and south, play-off before the champions come forward for an all-island final.

“But the Unite the union Champions’ cup is about more than just world-class football. The initiative seeks to celebrate our diversity, promote equality and build community – while also providing a focus for enjoyment and positivity. I’m very proud that this year again, Unite is providing significant funding for initiatives involving communities and schools in the catchment areas of the teams competing. This money is targeted at improving the lives and opportunities of those in greatest need.”

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Budget misses opportunity to tackle exploitation and low pay

October 13th: Unite, which represents workers throughout the economy, has said that yesterday’s Budget is “not a Budget for Ireland’s low-paid workers”, yet again failing to address workers’ rights and offering nothing to low-paid and precarious workers. 

Commenting, Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne said:

“One in in five workers in Ireland is low-paid, including over half of those working in the hospitality sectors. The 30 cent increase in the Minimum Wage will be quickly cancelled out by inflation and the high costs of rents across the country.

“We need to see a significant move towards a Living Wage to tackle in-work poverty, but there has been no indication of a commitment to that in this budget.  

Richie Browne added: “In the face of rising inflation, with increased fuel and living costs, the government’s tax-cutting strategy will have little impact on those who are struggling financially but will undermine our ability to inject much-needed investment into public services like health, education and childcare”.

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