Unite demands categorical statement from Government that Authentic Food Company workers will receive social protection entitlements on Friday 

unite-white-out-of-redUnite demands categorical statement from Government that Authentic Food Company workers will receive social protection entitlements on Friday 

Dundalk workers left unable to pay rent following liquidation proceedings

October 23rd:  Unite, which represents workers at the Authentic Food Company plant in Dundalk, today demanded that Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty issue a categorical statement assuring workers that they will receive their Social Protection entitlements on Friday.  Unite’s Senior Officer in the Republic, Brendan Ogle, made the call following Minister of State John Paul Phelan’s failure in the Seanad today to state unambiguously that workers will receive the payments to which they are entitled.

“Many of our members have over 25 years’ service with the Authentic Food Company and its predecessor Heinz, yet today they find themselves wondering how to pay the rent.  According to the liquidators, there is no money to pay our members’ wages during the 30-day ‘consultation period’ which commenced last Friday, or for the subsequent two-week notice period, leaving them without any income for six weeks and without a P45.

“Our members have paid their taxes and social insurance.  Having been left high and dry not only by their employer, but by the state’s persistent failure to legislate for such cases, they are entitled to know that the Department of Social Protection will step in and pay them their social welfare entitlements on Friday.

“I am calling on Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty to issue a categorical statement to that effect, and to issue the necessary instructions to her officials”, Mr Ogle concluded.

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Unite archaeologists secure 9% pay increase in ground-breaking Rubicon deal

unite-white-out-of-redCollective agreement points way forward for commercial archaeology

October 22nd: Archaeologists working for Rubicon Heritage have secured a 9% pay increase over 27 months.  The agreement reached with the workers’ union Unite will see the grades of site assistant, site supervisor and director receive a 4% pay increase backdated to October 1st, followed by a further 3% on January 1st 2019 and 2% on January 1st 2020.  The agreement will run until the end of 2020.

The agreement, which was unanimously endorsed by Unite members, marks the first collective agreement in the commercial archaeology sector and comes amidst Unite’s ongoing dispute with the Irish Archaeological Consultancy (IAC), which persists in refusing to negotiate collectively with workers through the union.

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Authentic Food Company: Unite meets liquidators, says serious questions surround closure announcement

unite-white-out-of-redUnion slams management refusal to engage with workers

Retention of Dundalk jobs and protection of taxpayer must be priorities

October 19th: Unite, which represents workers at Dundalk’s Authentic Food Company site, has today met with the liquidators appointed by the High Court to the plant.  Speaking after the meeting, Unite’s Senior Officer in the Republic, Brendan Ogle, said that there are serious questions surrounding the proposed liquidation of the plant, and he said that Unite will be writing to Business, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Heather Humphreys over the weekend to update her on the union’s concerns and seek an urgent meeting.  Mr Ogle warned that Unite would not tolerate a repeat of the Clery’s situation whereby workers and taxpayers were asked to pick up the tab for what he termed ‘sharp corporate practice’.

“The Authentic Food Co only acquired the Dundalk plant from Heinz in 2015, and in their 2017 annual report they highlighted the key role played by the Dundalk plant in the company’s future strategy.  In this context, and given the company’s persistent refusal to engage with the workers or their union over the past number of weeks, preferring to communicate through the local media, there is an obvious question surrounding the basis for today’s closure announcement and the decision to seek the appointment of liquidators, and we are taking legal advice in this regard.

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Legislation to break logjam on Departmental decision-making must lead to swift action on NHS pay disparities

img_0227Unite calls on the Permanent Secretary for Department of Health, Richard Pengelly, to meet with trade unions to discuss extension of UK-wide pay and terms & conditions reforms to Northern Ireland 

Northern Ireland healthcare workers have been left behind on pay as a result of political failure

October 18th: On behalf of his union’s healthcare membership, Unite Regional Officer Kevin McAdam welcomed legislation brought forward by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, which opened the door to movement on healthcare workers pay, and terms and conditions.

“Northern Ireland’s healthcare system is facing a staffing crisis – reflecting the failure to train sufficient staff but also due to the fact that healthcare professionals are paid substantially less than they would receive in the rest of the UK. As an example, paramedics in Northern Ireland receive a full eight thousand pound a year less than they get in England, Scotland and Wales. Continue reading

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Bord na Mona: Government must step in to ensure workers do not pick up decarbonisation tab

unite-white-out-of-redEuropean role in achieving ‘Just Transition’ must be investigated

October 17th: Unite, which is part of the Bord na Mona Group of Unions, today (Wednesday) called on the Government to intervene following the company’s announcement that the Midlands alone will lose a further 150 jobs in the next few months as the company continues moving away from peat-based activities, with further redundancies expected down the line.

While Bord na Mona has given a commitment  to engage in negotiations, Unite Regional Officer Ed Thompson pointed out that de-carbonisation will result in further jobs losses, and said that workers and their communities would pay the price for de-carbonisation unless robust measures are put in place to ensure a ‘Just Transition’ from fossil fuels.

“Those rural communities where Bord na Mona was previously an economic driver are bearing the brunt of de-carbonisation policies introduced to mitigate the effects of climate change.  Climate change is a national, European and global problem, and the response must also be at a supra-national level.

“Unite is calling on recently-appointed Minister Richard Bruton to ensure that workers and their communities can access a EU-wide ‘Just Transition’ fund.  Along with ring-fenced carbon tax receipts, such funds could be used to help drive investment in community renewal as well as future employment-generating initiatives.

“Workers and other stakeholders must also be fully involved in developing ‘Just Transition’ policies at all levels as recommended earlier this year by the European Trade Union Confederation.

“A skilled and committed workforce in the Midlands built Bord na Mona over decades.  Unite and the Group of Unions are determined to ensure that the workers do not pick up the decarbonisation tab”, Ed Thompson concluded.

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