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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Northern Ireland unemployment rate increase is a concerning sign of deteriorating economy

img_0227Regional unemployment rate leaps ahead of that of the UK as a whole for first time in a year

Fears of Brexit risks and failure to bring forward manufacturing strategy are factors in economic decline

October 16th: Davy Thompson, Regional Coordinating Officer for Unite, responded to the release of figures confirming that the unemployment rate in Northern Ireland had increased substantially and was now higher than the UK average. 

“Today’s unemployment figures are very concerning for anyone with ambition for jobs and skills in our economy. The joblessness rate has increased sharply reflecting the broader weakening of the Northern Ireland economy which is facing a significant reduction in productive investment. Continue reading

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Unite the union community members to erect ‘suicide awareness’ signs at Cave hill country park

img_0227Grassroots initiative taken as number of deaths from suicide in Northern Ireland in 20 years since peace agreement exceeds those from the 30 year Troubles

Twelve permanent Unite in the community ‘suicide awareness’ signs to go up on all pathways into Cave Hill

October 15th: Albert Hewitt, Regional Community Coordinator explained that Unite in the community members would be erecting the signs in Cave Hill park with the aim of discouraging people from taking their lives at the site.

“Sadly today, Northern Ireland is suffering from a suicide epidemic. As a society coming out of conflict, there are a lot of factors at play in that and we recognise that suicide affects all types of people, rich and poor, but those coming from the deprived working-class communities on either side of the peace walls are most likely to end their own lives.

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Brendan Ogle: Ideological Budget puts enriching the few above the needs of the many

unite-white-out-of-redPackage offers little for working people

Unite’s Senior Officer in the Republic of Ireland, Brendan Ogle, has said that Tuesday’s Budget was an “ideologically driven package” which offers little to working people and “further embeds the pattern of public crises to enrich private, vested interests”.

Speaking in Dublin, Mr Ogle condemned the continued focus on subsidies for private landlords as a means of addressing the housing emergency:

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Unprecedented and robust vote for strike action at Glen Dimplex, Craigavon as workforce demands a Living Wage

img_0227Following 86% vote for industrial action, Unite official to meet with workforce reps to discuss strike action   

Management at a company which made €38 million profit last year have no excuse but to address in-work poverty

Announcing the results of a ballot of employees at GDC (Glen Dimplex) in Craigavon, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Susan Fitzgerald confirmed that she would be meeting shop stewards to identify a strategic roll-out for industrial action in pursuit of a Living Wage.

Currently workers at Glen Dimplex are paid less than £8.75 an hour which according to the independent, UK-based, Living Wage Foundation is the minimum hourly rate for workers to have a basic standard of living.

“With a very strong turnout in the ballot of 89%, Unite’s membership at Glen Dimplex (GDC) have voted with majorities of 85.7% voting for strike action and 91.4% voting for industrial action short of strike. This is an unprecedented and overwhelming vote that demonstrates the strength of this workforce’s determination to secure the Living Wage Foundation’s minimal pay baseline for decency. Continue reading

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