Workers let down as Bruton washes hands of responsibility for English Language Teachers

unite-white-out-of-redUnite slams suggestion that Department has no role in securing workers’ rights

June 22nd: Trade union Unite, which represents English Language Teachers, has reacted angrily to a suggestion by the Department of Education that it has no role in regulating teachers’ working conditions.  The union was responding to a statement issued by the Department to RTE Drivetime yesterday stating that “The relationship between teachers and private providers of education is based on a private contract.  Issues relating to work conditions are a matter between the two parties and do not come under the remit of the Department of Education and Skills”.

Commenting, Unite Regional Organiser Roy Hassey said:

“The Government has identified English Language Teaching as a growth sector, and Minister Bruton announced last year that they intend growing the number of international students studying in Ireland by 25 per cent over four years.  Following a number of scandals, regulations are quite rightly being brought in to safeguard the interests of students.

“Yet the Minister and the Government apparently regard English Language Teachers as incidental to their plans for growing the sector.  In fact, the Department’s statement yesterday made it clear that they are washing their hands of any responsibility for working conditions in the sector, and this is consistent with the Minister’s refusal to meet us.

“The Department’s statement to Drivetime yesterday, referring to the relationship between teachers and their employers being based on a ‘private contract’ is particularly ironic given that the lack of decent contracts is one of the main issues facing English language teachers:  low-hours contracts are common, and Unite is even aware of cases where workers have not been given any contract.

“Rather than washing his hands of responsibility for the working conditions of English Language Teachers, Minister Bruton should sit down with us and ensure that the interests of teachers as well as students are central to an ELT strategy that works for all”, Roy Hassey concluded.

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Belfast City Council officials discussing possible closure of Loughside leisure centre

052Leaked management plans by outsourced management company, Greenwich Leisure Limited, admits closure would be ‘extremely political’ and recommends exploring ‘opportunities for reduced operational hours’ in the interim.

Plans in discussion also include transfer of Whiterock leisure centre to community groups casting doubts over long-term future of that facility

June 22nd: Unite Regional Officer, Michael Keenan, called on Belfast City Council to bring back all leisure centres into municipal management and defend the future of all facilities across the city.

“Over the past two years Unite has led opposition to plans to cut funding for Belfast leisure services by £2 million annually. We have sought to expose how the austerity budget agreed by the City Council will mean attacks on workers’ pay, corner-cutting on health and safety, service reductions and more limited access to those coming from deprived parts of the city.

“Leaked plans by outsourced management company Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) which are being disclosed by Unite in the public interest show that they are not happy with ‘savings’ from staff cuts, a two-tier workforce and closure of services but are now considering the outright closure of a number of leisure centres across the city. Continue reading

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Announced cuts to advanced nursing training will have drastic long-term impact

Unite Conference 106Training places for health visitor district nursing and advanced practitioners will be halved

Cuts will impact school nurse numbers leaving vulnerable children at risk

June 22nd: Kevin McAdam, Unite Regional Officer with responsibility for the Health sector in Northern Ireland responded to confirmation that funding would be removed from a range of advanced nursing courses in Northern Ireland.

“Unite the union has learned that funding for a range of advanced nursing courses is to be cut by £1.8 million in both Queens University and the Ulster University. This cut will impact not just on the universities but on the delivery of health care. The courses affected include health visiting district nursing and advanced practitioners. Continue reading

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Protest hears Bruton must talk to English Language Teachers

unite-white-out-of-redProtest hears Bruton must talk to English Language Teachers

Precarious work and low pay feeding profits as ELT sector booms

“English Language Teachers are teachers too”

June 21st: Unite, which organises English Language Teachers, today held a protest outside the Department of Education to demand that Minister Richard Bruton talk to ELTs and address their concerns.  The protest follows Minister Bruton’s refusal earlier this year to meet the union and discuss a range of issues facing English Language Teachers, including precarious work and low pay.

As well as English Language Teachers, those present included Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly and opposition politicians.

Union members handed in a letter reiterating the union’s concerns and request for a meeting with the Minister.  They were accompanied by Unite Regional Organiser Roy Hassey, who pointed out that, when developing a strategy for the English Language Teaching sector, the Minister had consulted all stakeholders except teachers:

Continue reading

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Belfast City Council must reverse threats to Ballysillan and Shankill swimming pools

052Outsourced management company, Greenwich Leisure Limited, plan to close Shankill pool

Staffing cuts planned at Ballysillan will force part of pool to be roped off meaning unsafe access for junior swimmers

June 21st: Unite Regional Officer, Michael Keenan, has called on Belfast City Council to put an end to threats hanging over pools at Shankill and Ballysillan Leisure Centres.

“In order to implement an austerity budget which will see £2 million cut from leisure services across the city, Belfast City Council has outsourced management to Greenwich Leisure Limited.

“Unite has repeatedly warned about the health and safety impact of staff cuts and management corner-cutting at the various centres across the city. We have also expressed concerns that changes to the services provided at leisure centres will result in deprived communities losing access to local facilities and reduce activity levels among the disadvantaged. Continue reading

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