Statement by Unite on premises at 15 Merrion Square

unite-white-out-of-redJanuary 16th: Unite is seeking to sell the former Amicus offices at 15 Merrion Square, which are in poor condition, with the benefit of planning permission for apartments.  In so doing, our aim is to maximise the value of this property for our members throughout Ireland and ensure that we have the resources to support and defend them.

It is Unite’s understanding that, following legislative changes introduced by the previous Government, the planning permission applicant (Unite the Union Trustee Company), had no legal option but to seek a social housing exemption.   If it should transpire that this was not appropriate in the case of 15 Merrion Square, the application will be withdrawn.

Unite regards attempts to draw a parallel between 15 Merrion Square and Apollo House as, at best, disingenuous and, at worst, mischievous.  As a NAMA property, Apollo House belongs to the people of Ireland.

Unite remains fully committed to the aims of the Home Sweet Home campaign, and we are proud of the campaign’s achievements in not only highlighting the scandal of homelessness in Ireland but also in securing six-month beds for 84 people.

Unite will not be issuing any further comment on this matter.

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Bus Eireann: Grant Thornton report and terms of reference must be published

unite-white-out-of-redTime to stop leaking and start talking

January 15th: Unite, which represents craft workers in Bus Eireann, has called for the Grant Thornton report on the company to be published along with the terms of reference given to the consultants.  Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Willie Quigley said:

“For almost a week our members have been subjected to a barrage of leaks in the media.  These leaks have included details from a consultants’ report which has not been seen by unions, and suggestions that management is preparing to meet unions to discuss “implementation” of this unseen report – despite the fact that unions have yet to receive any invitation to talks.

“It is time to stop leaking and start talking.  In the first instance, I am calling on the Minister to publish both the report and the terms of reference given to the consultants, so that all stakeholders – including the travelling public – are fully informed.

“Talks should then be convened with a view to ensuring the long-term sustainability of the company and the vital service it provides – a service which, in Unite’s view, should continue to be run in its entirety as a public service.   It should be noted that management has already accepted that pay increases must form part of any talks.

“The difficulties currently facing Bus Eireann can only be resolved through a transparent engagement between all stakeholders”, Willie Quigley concluded.

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Moves to impose charges for school transport service completely unacceptable

white-out-of-red-fullUnite Community branches will build People Power campaign to defeat proposal

Union will engage with Education & Library Board buses drivers to determine appropriate response

January 14th: Reacting to reports that the Education Authority is considering imposing charges on families for the transport of children to school, Unite’s Regional Officer with responsibility for ELB drivers, Gareth Scott said:

“Reports that the Education Authority is considering bringing forward charges of between £50 and £200 a child from September 2017 as a result of swingeing cuts made to their budget by the NI Executive parties are deeply alarming.

“Unite is completely opposed to this proposal which is unfair and will represent a further tax on families. The impact of a flat rate charge will be highly regressive and impact those on lowest incomes disproportionately. If those on benefits are excluded then the charges will fall on the just-about managing working families and will be equally objectionable. In addition, this measure will also constitute a stealth tax on rural communities who are most dependent on school transport services. Continue reading

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Have a heart for cardiac patients: Unite in the Community supporting Saturday demo

unite-white-out-of-redDemonstration part of ongoing campaign for 24/7 cardiac care in Waterford & South-East

January 11th: Unite Community members in Waterford will be supporting demonstration being organised this coming Saturday (January 14th) to demand round-the-clock cardiac care for Waterford and the South-East, based in Waterford University Hospital.  Unite in the Community stressed that proposals for a mobile cathterisation laboratory should only be considered as a first step towards the provision of a permanent, round-the-clock cardiac care facility.

Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:

“At present, the cardiac unity at WUH closes at 5 pm each day and on weekends, despite the fact that 800 patients face a wait of up to 18 months for cardiac procedures.

“At the same time, patients requiring procedures such as stents are to be transferred to Cork or Dublin by ambulance.  Not only does this place extra stress on vulnerable patients who will have to travel for up to two hours to access crucial services; it also puts additional pressure on an already over-stretched ambulance service”, Jimmy Kelly said.

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Schivo NI, formerly Maydown Precision Engineering, enters administration; latest body blow to North West industrial base

white-out-of-red-fullUnion asks whether work conducted in Derry has been outsourced by incoming management in a cynical ‘asset-stripping’ manoeuvre

NI Executive parties must now reconsider their refusal to bring forward industrial strategy for balanced regional growth

January 6th: Unite Regional Officer, Philip Oakes, responded to the news that Schivo NI, formerly Maydown Precision Engineering, is to enter administration:

“We are very deeply concerned about this news which has come out of nowhere. Workers on last night’s shift were told not to come back to work today.

“Employment at the former Maydown Precision Engineering site in Derry has fallen to eighty-two over the last few years. Unite has repeatedly warned about the risk to these jobs following attempts by Schivo to de-recognise the union when they acquired the company eighteen months ago. Local political leaders told us that they would not publicly intervene as they had been provided assurances by the new management over long-term employment. Sadly, we now see the worth of those promises. Continue reading

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