Employers must recognise and make adjustments for workers with hidden disabilities

pe_00694840Unite seminar for shop stewards and health & safety reps hears of impact from Fibromyalgia, Autism and Mental health

Taryn Trainor, Unite Regional Women’s & Equalities Officer explained that her union’s seminar for workplace reps on Hidden Disabilities was a highly appropriate way to mark International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

“Usually Unite organises a commemorative event to mark International Day for Persons with Disabilities, but this day we decided to hold a conference on Hidden Disabilities in the workplace. Our workplace representatives: shop stewards and health & safety reps, all too often find themselves dealing with hidden disabilities that no-one has diagnosed or maybe even noticed previously.”

The event had a focus on Fibromyalgia, Autism and Mental Health with speakers including Margaret Peacock, Director of Fibromyalgia Support, Tom Donoghue and Muriel Cuddy of Health and Fitness Ireland and Andy Hasley of Autism NI. Ms Trainor explained:

“Those suffering from Fibromyalgia or any other auto-immune diseases need reasonable adjustments at work but unfortunately they may have had these conditions for years without being recognised. Continue reading

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Unite members vote overwhelmingly for strike action despite attempt by Health Department Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly to interfere with union’s industrial ballot

Health and social care workers in Unite voted 82.4 percent in favour of strike action and 91.1 for industrial action short of strike action over pay inequality and the staffing crisis

Department of Health must address pay equality demand and end staffing crisis and waste on private agencies

In the absence of an adequate response from the Department of Health to the demand for pay equality, Unite in Health’s four thousand members across the health service in Northern Ireland will now join with broader planned strike action on 18th December across the Health and Social Care service.

Kevin McAdam lead officer for Health congratulated his members on their turnout and commitment to defending themselves and the wider NHS.

“Only last year, health and social care staff celebrated seventy years since the foundation of our NHS – which when it was set up was the ‘envy of the world’. They did this despite the fact that day and daily NHS workers are required to go way beyond their contractual obligations in order to sustain the service – a fact testified by the estimated impact of a simple work-to-rule.

“Northern Ireland NHS workers are the poorest paid in the UK – a fact that has resulted in a chronic staffing crisis rooted in a failure to recruit or retain staff and the abject failure to bring forward workforce development. The consequences of this policy has been to raise dependency on locums and private sector staff agencies – which represents another scandalous waste of NHS funding that should be going towards frontline provision.

“The permanent secretary has acknowledged the need for changes and improvements. The fact that he hasn’t directed funds to deal with staff pay simply amounts to financial mismanagement of the health budget in Northern Ireland.” Continue reading

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ELT sector: Unite welcomes establishment of Joint Labour Committee

ELT branch logoMove follows sustained campaign by English Language Teachers organised in Unite

December 2nd: Unite, which represents English Language Teachers throughout Ireland, today welcomed the Government’s decision to implement a Labour Court recommendation and establish a Joint Labour Committee governing the English language education sector.  The move follows a sustained campaign by English Language Teachers themselves working through their union, Unite, and comes on foot of several high-profile college closures and concerns about the sustainability of a sector characterised by poor working conditions.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Brendan Byrne said:

“Since 2017, Unite members working in the ELT sector have been highlighting a range of issues from low pay to precarious contracts.  In January of this year, that sustained campaign, as well as publicity surrounding the closure of Grafton College, led the Minister to appoint former ASTI general secretary Pat King as a mediator to explore the scope for setting minimum employment standards in the sector, and in July Mr King recommended the establishment of a Joint Labour Committee – a recommendation which was endorsed by the Labour Court and has today been implemented by the Government.

“Now, Unite looks forward to engaging within the framework of the JLC process to improve the terms and conditions of our members in the sector, and ensure that Ireland’s reputation as a quality learning destination for international students is not undermined by poor employment practices”, Brendan Byrne concluded.

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Unite members at Hovis in Belfast to be balloted on strike action in fair pay dispute

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Delfin dispute: Unite welcomes invitation to talks

Unite logo white out of redUnion suspends industrial action pending discussions

November 28th: Unite, which represents English Language Teachers throughout Ireland, today (Thursday) welcomed the decision by Delfin English School to meet the union to discuss members concerns.  Teachers at Delfin have engaged in a series of stoppages, and were scheduled to resume industrial action next week.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Brendan Byrne said:

“Unite has always argued that collective engagement is the best way to resolve issues in the English Language Teaching sector, and that such engagement can benefit both teachers and education providers.

“We therefore welcome the decision by Delfin management to invite Unite to talks next week to discuss our members’ concerns.

“Our members are resolute in their determination to improve their own terms and conditions while also improving the reputation of the ELT sector as a whole, and next week’s engagement with Delfin will be a positive step in that direction”, Mr Byrne said.

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