NI Audit Office report confirms that Universal Credit mitigation package has failed most vulnerable

img_0227Uptake of mitigations funds falls £136 million below Executive target leaving claimants to face full brunt of Tory welfare reform package

Only 82 percent of Universal Credit claimants paid on time with more than half drawing down advance payment to avoid six week delay

January 17th: Albert Hewitt, Unite Community Coordinator said that the Northern Ireland Audit Office report issued today proved that the new Universal Credit regime was nothing less than a brutal attack on working-class people, whether in work or not. 

“The rolling introduction of Universal Credit in Northern Ireland was always going to be a disaster for working people in Northern Ireland – where we have almost three in ten of working-age who are not either in work or actively seeking work. That proportion is a good 50 percent higher than the rate in England, Scotland and Wales and reflects the historic legacy of the conflict here.

“As part of a 2015 deal whereby the Conservative government promised the Northern Ireland Executive they would slash corporate taxes to 12.5 percent, the  DUP and Sinn Féin voted through legislation that gave them the power to extend social welfare cuts and Universal Credit to Northern Ireland. At that time, Unite in the community organised coordinated protests outside both parties’ offices and challenged them on the mitigations package that was being sold as protecting claimants in Northern Ireland from the worse effects of their deal. Continue reading

Posted in Northern Ireland news, Press Releases, Unite in the Community | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plans to outsource Craigavon leisure centre threatens unacceptable cost to communities and staff

img_0227Unite joins NIPSA and GMB to seek meetings with all political groups on Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council

Experience of outsourcing of Leisure in Belfast must be a warning to service users and staff

January 17th: On Monday evening Unite workers in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon (ABC) Borough Council joined with those of NIPSA and the GMB in a powerful display of opposition outside Craigavon Civic centre to the threat of outsourcing the new Craigavon leisure centre. Unite Regional Officer, Gareth Scott, issued a stark warning over the impact a decision to outsource poses to local service users – as well as staff – and vowed to make this issue one central to the upcoming local election.

“Alongside NIPSA and the GMB, Unite has sought to engage positively with ABC council management in the process of replacing three existing leisure centres – in Craigavon, Lurgan and Portadown – with one in Craigavon. Indeed our members identified a range of revenue-raising proposals including new courses and activities which could be accommodated in the facility. Unfortunately rather than seek to improve finances through increasing value-added, council bosses appear to be intent on pursuing a cut-cost option regardless of the consequences. They have presented councillors with a highly questionable business case claiming that outsourcing management of the facility will save an additional £0.8 million a year. Continue reading

Posted in Northern Ireland news, Press Releases, Public Services, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

English Language Teachers:  Unite has positive meeting with Patrick King

Union will be making submission to mediator

Government decision reflects power of collective action

unite-white-out-of-redJanuary 14th: Trade union Unite, which organises English Language Teachers, today (Monday) welcomed the decision by Higher Education Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor to appoint former ASTI General Secretary Patrick King to work with stakeholders in the English Language Teaching sector to explore employment issues.  Specifically, Mr King has been asked to assess the scope for a set of minimum employment standards which could form the basis of a Registered Employment Agreement covering the sector.

Commenting, Unite Senior Regional Organiser Davy Kettyles said:

“Unite has already had a positive engagement with Mr King during which we outlined our concerns, and we will be making a submission to him. Unite has long highlighted labour abuses in the sector, and met with Minister Mitchell O’Connor in 2017 to press for action.  Since then the situation has, if anything, worsened and last year again saw the snap closures of colleges – including Grafton College, which was ACELS/QQI-approved and a member of the industry body Marketing English in Ireland –  leaving both teachers and students high and dry. Precarious employment continues to be the rule rather than the exception in the sector.

Continue reading

Posted in Press Releases, Republic of Ireland news, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

British Council research shows lack of jobs, precarity and low pay are the biggest concerns for young people in Northern Ireland

img_0227More than half surveyed say that lack of jobs and low pay are great challenges to young people

Study confirms growing lack of trust in government but appetite for political and social engagement and participation

January 8th: Unite the union hospitality organiser Neil Moore welcomed the findings of an all-island study conducted on behalf of the British Council.

“Young people are leaving education to enter a jobs market where the expectation is only them to take up low-paid, precarious jobs. This survey shows that for young people in Northern Ireland, the lack of decent employment opportunities is the biggest challenge that they face. The proportions of those surveyed saying that the lack of jobs, poor pay and insecurity were a challenge to a ‘great extent’ were 58 percent, 54 percent and 48 percent respectively; if you include those who saw these as challenges to ‘some extent’ the figure is almost nine in ten across all three areas. In Northern Ireland, unlike the Republic where the biggest issue was housing, those proportions dwarf any other issue reflecting the significance of work-related challenges to young people here. Continue reading

Posted in Northern Ireland news, Press Releases | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Ryder RIP

It is with the deepest shock and sadness that Unite has suffered the loss of John Ryder, full time Official with Unite’s ESB Branch. John leaves behind his loving Wife Lynda, Daughter Katie, Son Paul and a wider circle of family, friends and comrades. John, aged 51, died suddenly on 27th of December at his home in Dublin’s South inner city.
A true ‘Dub’ in every sense John spent his life close to the Liberty’s. Born and reared in Clanbrassil Street John began his working life with ESB at their Head Office and went through a number of positions with the company. While John was a trusted and valued colleague at work from the beginning he met Lynda when he was just 17 and they began to build a life together. A ‘Mod’, John cut a dash in his dark suits and straight ties and he won many friends with his great sense of fun and humour which he carried throughout his life.

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment