Vital that the Stormont Executive prioritises public transport workers for Covid-19 vaccine rollout

Davy Thompson, Deputy Regional Secretary

Unite the union deputy Regional Secretary Davy Thompson urged action by the Northern Ireland Executive to prioritise frontline workers in public transport for the rollout of vaccination against Covid-19.

“Unite represents the overwhelming majority of bus and rail workers in Northern Ireland, whether they work for Translink through Ulsterbus, Metro or Northern Ireland Rail, or provide school bus services through the Education Authority. We are calling for these workers to be put to the top of the list when it comes to receiving vaccination for the Covid-19 virus in coming days.

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Public sector agreement: Unite representatives issue no recommendation prior to balloting

Online meeting also hears demands for FEMPI to be scrapped

January 20th: Unite public sector representatives met online last night to discuss the proposed public sector agreement, Building Momentum.  The meeting decided not to issue a recommendation prior to putting the agreement to a ballot of members, the result of which will be known on Friday February 12th.  Unite will then cast its votes at the ICTU Public Service Committee’s aggregate ballot on Monday February 15th.

In addition to discussing the proposed public sector agreement, representatives reflected the strong view of members that unions should press for FEMPI to be repealed as a priority. 

Speaking this morning, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne said:

“Unite has opposed FEMPI since its initial introduction.  Today, most of its provisions have been unwound. If FEMPI were repealed tomorrow, all other industrial relations agreements would still stand.

The only purpose of FEMPI is as a coercive instrument which the Government can hold over the heads of public sector workers.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the vital contribution of workers throughout the public sector.  The Government should now acknowledge that contribution by immediately moving to abolish FEMPI”, Mr Browne concluded.

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COVID-19 and Your Rights as a Worker – UPDATED 15 January

Frequently Asked Questions – UPDATED 15 January 2021

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) situation continues to evolve and Unite will continue updating our advice as dictated by circumstances. 

Most recently, the Level 5 measures announced on 24 December 2020, followed by the additional restrictions announced on 8 January 2021, mean that many of our members are again working from home, while those working in sectors directly impacted by the new restrictions, such as hospitality and construction, may again be facing layoffs. A brief guide to the restrictions is available here.

The information below has been updated to reflect ongoing developments.

Unite is endeavouring to maintain our service to members during this unprecedented health emergency. In order to facilitate social distancing in line with public health guidelines, our offices remain closed to public visitors until further notice.

If you require assistance, please email adminroi@unitetheunion.org.

Below, please find information on some questions you may have as a worker affected by the COVID-19 emergency.  We will continue updating this FAQ on a rolling basis as the situation develops.

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Monaghan Mushrooms must immediately introduce lateral flow testing and provide fully-paid sick leave to self-isolating workers at its Benburb site

Workers have told Unite of an extensive Covid-19 outbreak at Monaghan Mushrooms production site in Battleford Road, Benburb

If outbreak affecting majority of workforce is confirmed, site must be shut for a deep-cleanse pending safe return with testing and full pay provided to workforce

Unite Regional Officer, Sean McKeever, called on management at Monaghan Mushrooms to move swiftly to protect workers and the wider public health after becoming aware of a major outbreak at its production site in Benburb.

“Unite members working at a Monaghan Mushrooms production facility on the border on the Battleford Road in Benburb raised concerns over the large scale of an outbreak among the workforce. The workers have reported concerns that as many of three-quarters of the workforce of approximately fifty could have caught the virus – this would represent a very high level of transmission.

“Unite sought answers from management on these concerns; unfortunately, bosses have responded by stone-walling on the scale of the outbreak and offered empty assurances that they were doing everything they could.

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Industrial action at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council suspended after management proposal tabled

Joint Communication on behalf of the Management (MS) and Trade Union Sides

Kieran Ellison Unite Regional Officer

Following a period of intense negotiations between Management and the recognised Trade Unions within Newry Mourne and Down District Council, a proposal has been tabled that has facilitated the suspension of industrial action with immediate effect.

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