Workers and residents maintain ‘work-in’ to save Northern Ireland’s only women-only hostel for homeless and vulnerable
Unite launches of an online petition for public to show their support for staff and residents’ fight
Unite members working at Regina Coeli House have received letters from management suspending them on grounds of alleged ‘serious breaches of the safety and security’ of residents at the women’s hostel. Meanwhile residents have been told that they must leave on taxis provided to alternative and uncertain mixed accommodation which may not be appropriate to their needs.
Despite these developments, workers and residents will continue their work-in to save the future of Northern Ireland’s only women’s-only hostel providing shelter and support to homeless and vulnerable women. Supporters from across all parts of Belfast have gathered outside to show their solidarity.
Unite’s General Secretary Sharon Graham said;
“The stand of the workers and residents at Regina Coeli House has struck a chord with people across Northern Ireland, and indeed across these islands. The suspension of workers and threats to evict vulnerable women residents at Regina Coeli House are a disgraceful development – the workers and residents have the full support of this union. The Legion of Mary, the NI Housing Executive and Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey must think again. They must find a solution to the crisis which avoids the threatened closure of the only all-woman hostel in Northern Ireland.
Unite has launched a petition on behalf of the workers hosted on the TUC’s Megaphone platform. The petition calls for the Legion of Mary, the NI Housing Executive and Minister for Communities Deirdre Hargey to come together to reverse the threatened closure of the only all-woman hostel in Northern Ireland. The petition will demonstrate that the public is overwhelmingly opposed to this closure.
Unite Regional Equalities and Women’s Officer Taryn Trainor was outside Regina Coeli House when workers received news of their suspension. She said:
“Regina Coeli is owned by the Legion of Mary and run by a committee who purport to have an interest in the spiritual well-being of vulnerable women and their workers. It’s very hard to reconcile that with the communication that has just been received or the devastating impact it has had on these women.
“Management have suspended the workers on grounds of the safety of residents while at the very same time instructing vulnerable female residents to get into taxis, leave this women-only hostel and transfer into mixed accommodation uncertain of whether it meets their needs. I’m proud to say the workers and residents continue their work-in – they are determined to save their jobs and the future of this vital facility for vulnerable women from across Northern Ireland”, Ms Trainor concluded.
The on-line petition can be accessed at https://www.megaphone.org.uk/petitions/keep-our-women-s-hostel-open-save-regina-coeli-house