No justification for QUB management proposal to increase fees

QueensNI Executive must take control of funding provided for higher education to ensure working-class children are not excluded

Proposals to increase fees further indefensible at a time when senior management draw six figure salaries and students are leaving with five figure debts

July 26th: Sean Smyth, Unite Regional Officer with responsibility for the union’s membership in Higher Education has sharply criticised proposals by Queens University Belfast management to raise student fees further:

“While we recognise and support the case for additional funding for our Universities, we believe that these latest management proposals make the case for the NI Executive to step in and take control of how tax payers money is being spent in our higher education institutions.

“It is completely indefensible to argue for a further substantial increase in fees while management receive inflated, six-figure salaries and students are left coping with five-figure debts. Continue reading

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Draft Programme for Government Framework inadequate to meet the challenges facing Northern Ireland

25 April 2016 - Picture by Darren Kidd / Press Eye.

NI Executive must include targets for Manufacturing employment, R&D Investment, Productivity and Living Wage

Unite committed to continued positive engagement with parties to advance growth, equality and reconciliation

July 22nd: Speaking as his union submitted their response to the draft Programme for Government Framework, Unite Regional Secretary, Jimmy Kelly said:

“Unite welcomes the opportunity this consultation has afforded us to participate in the setting of policy for the new Executive term. While we remain committed to continuing our positive engagement with the Executive parties to advance growth, equality and reconciliation, our response to the consultation was highly critical. Continue reading

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Executive parties must guarantee social, economic and environmental protections will not be downgraded by Brexit


Northern Ireland citizens must not suffer any diminution of workplace rights, health and safety protections or environmental safeguards

NI Executive should investigate the reintroduction of selective financial assistance for Manufacturing to mitigate adverse Brexit impact

July 21st: Speaking as the French President and Irish Taoiseach called for a swift Brexit process, Unite Regional Secretary, Jimmy Kelly, called upon both Northern Ireland Executive parties to guarantee current workplace rights, health and safety protections and environment safeguards in the upcoming negotiations:

“A majority of voters in Northern Ireland backed continued membership of the European Union. For many, their vote was motivated by a desire to avoid adverse economic impacts as well as concerns that Brexit could downgrade hard-won social, economic and environmental protections. Continue reading

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Waterford Airport must issue statement on strike-breaker recruitment

unite-white-out-of-redIndustrial action started this morning

Strike follows unilateral imposition of hours cut

July 20th: Unite today called on Waterford Regional Airport to confirm or deny whether they are recruiting strike-breakers.  Workers at the airport began indefinite strike action this morning.   The strike, which comprises full withdrawal of labour and placing of pickets, follows management’s decision to slash workers’ hours from 39 to 21 hours per week without agreement.  In addition, management refused to allow workers into their place of work to work their currently agreed rosters – a refusal tantamount to a lockout.

Speaking in Waterford this morning, Regional Officer Tony Kelly said:

“In light of management’s decision to unilaterally cut workers’ hours, and their ongoing refusal to engage meaningfully to find a way forward for the airport, our members had no option but to take the strike action which started at 7.15 am.

“This morning I received information indicating that Waterford Regional Airport is seeking to undermine our legitimate industrial action by recruiting strike-breakers.  I am now calling on the airport’s management to make a public statement confirming or denying whether this is the case.

“Separately, Unite will be raising serious concerns about strike breaking attempts by this employer at the ICTU Executive which meets today.

“Any attempt by Waterford Regional Airport to recruit strike-breakers would represent a very serious escalation of this dispute”, Tony Kelly warned.

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“Insulting” Minimum Wage increase would widen inequality gap

unite-white-out-of-redUnite says 10 cent increase means real pay cut after inflation

Low Pay Commission recommendation does not take account of soaring profits

July 19th: Trade union Unite today slammed what it termed an “insulting” recommendation by the Low Pay Commission, which has recommended increasing the National Minimum Wage by just 10 cents per hour.  If this recommendation is accepted by the Government, the lowest-paid workers will suffer a real pay cut after inflation at a time when profits in some low-paid sectors have been soaring.

Commenting, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said:

“The Low Pay Commission has missed an opportunity to use the National Minimum Wage as a strategic tool to start ending the scandal of low pay and ensuring that no-one earns below the Living Wage.

“Instead, at a time when some low-paid sectors – such as hospitality – are booming, with profits over 40 per cent above pre-crash levels, workers are being told that they are worth just 10 cent more.  That is an insult to low-paid workers.

“Today’s recommendation makes almost no progress on bringing low-paid workers up to the Living Wage:  instead, it may actually drive workers further into poverty, since they will suffer a real pay cut after inflation.

“Unite is urging the Government to reject the Commission’s recommendation and announce a real increase in the Minimum Wage – thus telling low-pay employers that poverty pay is not OK”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.

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