Strike action set to proceed at Belfast City Airport over Swissport dismissal of union rep

George BrashFirst two hours strike action by baggage handlers and ground staff will commence at 2.15pm tomorrow [Monday October 23rd]  

Last minutes talks offered by Swissport management for 10am [on Monday October 23rd] must address staff concerns to avert action

Speaking after management sent him an email inviting him to last ditch talks ahead of scheduled stoppages tomorrow [2.15-4.15pm Monday October 23rd], Unite Regional Industrial Officer, George Brash said: 

“Over past weeks, Unite has repeatedly called on Swissport management to take seriously the concerns of their workers in Belfast City Airport over the dismissal of a leading union rep. Today, the day before scheduled strike action, management has emailed me to request last ditch talks to avert the likely disruption that would be associated with our members’ planned stoppages.  Continue reading

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Iarnród Éireann: Unite members vote for industrial action

unite-white-out-of-redUnion slams ‘orchestrated’ breakdown of WRC talks

October 20th: Unite, which represents craft workers in Iarnród Éireann, today announced that nearly three-quarters of of members have voted for industrial action, up to and including strike action.  The news follows last night’s breakdown of talks at the WRC, which Regional Officer Willie Quigley said had been “orchestrated off the pitch”.

“After a pay freeze lasting almost ten years and abortive attempts to resolve issues at the WRC, workers at Iarnród Éireann have reached the end of their patience.

“Unions hoped the latest welcome intervention of WRC in an attempt to finalise a pay proposal would bring a resolution to the crisis, but it appears that those representing Iarnród Éireann were not fully authorised to negotiate.  In effect, the breakdown of talks was orchestrated off the pitch.

“We now have a mandate from our members for industrial action up to and including strike action, and accordingly will be proceeding with arrangements for a series of 24-hour stoppages as agreed by unions this afternoon.  Unions will keep the situation under review and consider escalation and longer durations of actions on an ongoing basis”, Willie Quigley said.

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SIPTU and Unite to ballot staff at Waterfront and Ulster Halls for strike action

unite-white-out-of-redBelfast City Council owned ‘arms-length’ body fails to honour commitment to workforce

Outsourced management seek to create two-tier workforce introducing poverty pay and attacking terms & conditions 

October 19th: Speaking together for their respective unions, Niall McNally, SIPTU Organiser; and Michael Keenan, Unite Regional Industrial Officer, confirmed they would be opening ballots for industrial action among their members working at the Waterfront and Ulster halls. The ballots will open tomorrow [Friday, October 20th] and remain open for two weeks.

On behalf of Unite the union, Michael Keenan, highlighted how commitments made when the facilities were outsourced have been broken by the City-hall backed management company: 

“Unite and SIPTU stood united against the outsourcing of our municipal facilities by Belfast City Council but the City Council ignored our concerns as they were intent on transferring their responsibilities to staff and the general public to an arms-length body, the Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall Limited company. Continue reading

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Enactment of construction SEO welcome, but fight for travel time must continue

unite-white-out-of-redOctober 19th: Unite today welcomed the implementation of the construction Sectoral Employment Order recommended by the Labour Court in July, but warned that retention of the travel allowance is crucial to ensure that construction workers maintain and improve their living standards.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer for Construction Tom Fitzgerald said:

“Unite welcomes today’s announcement that the SEO has been enacted since it provides a basis of certainty in the construction sector – certainty that has been missing since Registered Employment Agreements were declared unconstitutional in 2013.

“However, it is vital that the current travel time arrangements, providing for payment of a minimum one hour’s travel time per day for all construction workers, are retained.  In this absence of the travel time allowance, some workers could actually be exposed to a pay cut.

“As agreed by the ICTU Congress Construction Industry Committee in August, unions must now work to secure an agreement from the Construction Industry Federation that travel time arrangements will be retained”, Tom Fitzgerald concluded.

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Unite welcomes launch of ‘Abortion as a Workplace Issue’ report


Pioneering research will help inform union’s campaigning on abortion

October 19th: Unite today welcomed the publication of Abortion as a Workplace Issue, based on a quantitative and qualitative survey of trade union members commissioned by five trade unions including Unite, as well as Alliance for Choice (Northern Ireland) and the Trade Union Campaign to Repeal the 8th Amendment (Republic of Ireland).  Over 3,000 trade union members responded to the survey which, among other findings, found that 80% agreed women’s health should be the priority in any reform of the abortion law while 20% – nearly 600 respondents – had had direct experience of abortion as a workplace issue.

Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:

“The right to choose is not simply a women’s issue:  it is a workers’ issue, and that is why Unite is a pro-choice union.  Unite’s position is clear: the protection of women’s health on the island of Ireland requires that the 1967 Abortion Act be extended to Northern Ireland, and that the Eighth Amendment be repealed in the Republic as a prelude to the introduction of fit-for-purpose abortion legislation.  This ground-breaking report will help inform our union’s campaigning on this issue in both Norther Ireland and the Republic”.

Unite Regional Women’s and Equalities Officer Taryn Trainor added:

“Unite and the trade union movement works hard to ensure that workers facing a range of issues are represented and supported in the workplace.  Women facing a crisis pregnancy and all the healthcare issues involved deserve the same representation and support – and this report, based on responses from over 3,000 union members, tells us why”, Taryn Trainor concluded.

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