Unite to ballot membership working in Hovis on significantly improved pay offer

Sean McKeeverShop stewards suspend pending all-out strike action planned to commence Friday after company makes new offer

Sean McKeever, Unite Regional Officer, confirmed that his union would be balloting members on a fresh pay offer made by the company’s management in the face of all-out strike action.

“Strike action is always a last resort for workers and our union. Unfortunately we were left with no alternative but to proceed with plans for all-out strike action as a result of the total failure of Hovis bosses to take seriously our members’ pay expectations. The workforce had sought a decent pay uplift but were offered only 3.2 percent by management despite the negotiations going through mediation at the LRA.

“In light of the significantly improved pay offer made by management today, our team of shop stewards have agreed to suspend the action  planned to commence at a minute past midnight on Friday [January 24th]. We will now proceed to ballot our members on the offer and are hoping to announce their response and next steps within a week”, Mr McKeever concluded.

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Closure of Crane Stock Valve site in East Belfast demonstrates need for Executive focus on manufacturing

08663 redundancies at East Belfast site sought at US valve manufacturer withdraws production from Northern Ireland  

Announcement is latest blow to Northern Ireland manufacturing and the economy of East Belfast

Unite Regional Officer George Brash, confirmed that his union had been informed of the run-down and closure of Crane Stock Valve’s manufacturing base in East Belfast over a twenty-four month period.

“Crane Stock Valve employs 89 employees – principally around its manufacturing base in East Belfast. Today’s announcement confirms that the US-owned business wishes to withdraw production from Northern Ireland and commences a thirty-day consultation period on the proposal.

“If it proceeds, this announcement will result in 63 redundancies commencing in early 2021 and finishing by November of that year. The workers have a collective agreement in place which provides for enhanced redundancy pay but the loss of these jobs represents another blow for Northern Ireland manufacturing and the local economy in East Belfast.

“When it was last up-and-running, the Northern Ireland Executive refused to bring forward a strategy for the manufacturing sector. The absence of such a strategy – with real actions to defend jobs and skills – left Northern Ireland industry defenceless in a period of mounting challenge. This announcement reinforces the urgency of the newly re-established Executive to reconsider its approach and bring forward a Manufacturing Strategy for Northern Ireland.

“For its part, the company are citing global competition, market pricing pressure and financial performance in Belfast as justification for their decision but it seems likely that this is really about the race-to-the-bottom in production going to lower cost locations.

“Unite will be engaging with our shop stewards at the company and with our wider membership to identify our response to today’s announcement and next steps ahead”, Mr Brash concluded.

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All-out strike for fair pay set to commence at Hovis as workforce votes overwhelmingly for industrial action

Sean McKeeverPickets for Boucher Road site will go up at one minute past midnight on Friday after 88 percent majority votes for strike action in pursuit of 5.1 percent pay claim

Deducting shift premiums, overtime and bonuses, Hovis workers receive a basic wage 90 pence below national minimum wage threshold

Sean McKeever, Unite Regional Officer, explained the reasons for the all-out strike action being taken by his union’s members at the Hovis site in Belfast from midnight on Friday morning [January 24th]:

“If you strip away their shift premiums, bonuses and overtime payments, workers at Hovis’ Boucher Road site have a basic pay rate 90 pence below the national minimum wage. As such, in recent pay negotiations, the workers are seeking a pay uplift of 5.1 percent equivalent to 37 pence an hour on their basic rate.

“Unfortunately management have completely failed to address those legitimate pay expectations in recent pay talks. Bosses refused to meet the pay claim and instead offered a meagre 23 pence an hour uplift (3.2 percent). In effect, bosses are forcing workers to the gate for less than 14 pence an hour in terms of a differential. This is both scandalous and an insult to the workforce. Continue reading

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Unite in health suspends action and will ballot members on Department of Health pay offer

Unite Conference 106

Regional Industrial Sector Committee votes to suspend plans for escalated industrial action

Union will recommend acceptance of offer which promises pay parity and further uplift in 2020

Unite Regional Officer for Health Kevin McAdam confirmed his union would be joining Unison and the RCN in suspending plans for strike action after the new Minister for Health provided a commitment to deliver pay parity and bring forward plans to address the staffing crisis in the Health & Social Care sector.

“Our Health Regional Industrial Sector committee met at 1pm today [16th January] to consider the developments in the Health service pay dispute. Following detailed discussion on the papers from the minister and the department in relation to Safe Staffing issues and the offer of pay parity with Agenda for change staff in England, the committee voted unanimously to suspend any further industrial action pending a ballot of all members in Health in Northern Ireland. Continue reading

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Unite construction members recoup almost €500,000 from rogue employers in 2019

Unite logo white out of redUnite construction members recoup almost €500,000 from rogue employers in 2019

January 14th: Unite’s construction branch, which represents workers throughout Ireland’s booming building industry, today (Tuesday) revealed that the union secured €487,000 for members during 2019.  As well as payments made on foot of employment rights cases taken on behalf of members, the union successfully pursued a number of employers for failure to pay the ‘rate for the job’ stipulated by Sectoral Employment Orders.  The figure does not include personal injuries cases taken on behalf of members, including one settlement of €1 million.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer for Construction Tom Fitzgerald said:

“Although we recouped nearly €500,000 for construction workers last year, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  By definition, we can only take action when we become aware of cases – and workers who are not organised in unions are likely to be unaware of their rights and unsure of how to vindicate those rights.

“The money we secured for workers went straight back into the economy, benefiting us all.

“These wins again demonstrate that workers organised in effective trade unions are the best bulwark against rogue employers”, Tom Fitzgerald concluded.

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