Unite accuses government of ‘raising the white flag’ in Bombardier tariff fight

IMG_4734January 10th: The UK and Ireland’s largest union, Unite warned the UK government that it was ‘raising the white flag’ without a fight to save Bombardier jobs today (Wednesday 10 January) as it said it was demanding an urgent meeting with the new secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley.

The warning came as Richard Harrington, a minister at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, told MPs on the Northern Ireland Affairs committee that the government expected Bombardier to lose a US trade case against Boeing over its C Series passenger jet.

The US International Trade Commission is due to make a final decision this month on whether to slap tariffs of 300 per cent on C Series jets, as recommended by the US Commerce Department in December last year.

Unite has written to the new secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley and the leaders of Northern Ireland’s two main political parties seeking urgent meetings and demanding that they turn rhetoric into tough action to save jobs at the Belfast plane maker.

Unite assistant general secretary Steve Turner, who has responsibility for members in the aerospace sector said: “Comments by UK ministers that they expect Bombardier to lose the US trade case with Boeing are a disgrace and amount to them raising the white flag on UK jobs without a fight.

“A phone call to Donald Trump is all well and good, but where is the follow through on Theresa May’s tough words about Boeing and the tough action needed to secure Northern Ireland jobs? Continue reading

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Caterpillar workers stand united against attempts to divide with sectarian graffiti at Springvale site

unite-white-out-of-redUnite contacts political leaders from DUP and Sinn Féin to seek to calm situation

January 9th: Unite Regional Secretary, Jackie Pollock, confirmed that he had been in contact with political representatives from both sides of the community divide in relation to the incident:

“This sectarian slogan is a reprehensible attempt to divide workers and will not be allowed to succeed. Unite represents this workforce and they stand united against those who offer nothing positive.

“Unite has sought to contact political leaders from the DUP and Sinn Féin to calm the situation. We welcome the fact that leaders on both sides of the community divide have come out strongly against this graffiti”, Mr Pollock finished. Continue reading

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Jackie Pollock takes over as head of Unite in Ireland

Jackie Pollock for distributionPrecarious work, low pay and Brexit among challenges identified by new Regional Secretary

Jackie Pollock has succeeded Jimmy Kelly as Unite Regional Secretary.  From Belfast, Jackie Pollock has been involved in trade unionism since the 1980s, and most recently served as Deputy Regional Secretary.

Speaking in Belfast today (Monday), Jackie Pollock identified precarious work, low pay and Brexit as just some of the challenges facing working people throughout the island of Ireland, and he pledged to support members in their struggle for decent work while also ensuring the union reaches out to unorganised workplaces and workers.

“Membership of a trade union remains the best way for working people to defend and advance their terms and conditions, but the challenges facing us have never been greater.  Existing issues such as the growth of precarious work and low wages have been joined by new challenges, such as the likely impact of Brexit and the threats posed by automation.

“I look forward to working with our members in responding to these challenges and growing our union, and to working with other unions to ensure that workers’ voices are heard”, Jackie Pollock said.

Click here to download a short biography of Jackie Pollock.


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Unite school bus drivers and Enniskillen branch launches campaign for adoption of reflective uniform strips and high-viz school passes in Fermanagh

Gareth ScottChildren in rural areas on unlit roads left vulnerable to traffic accidents

School bus drivers to visit local schools to promote ‘safe uniform’ initiative in absence of Minister or action by Education Authority

Unite Regional Officer, Gareth Scott, welcomed the launch of a Road Safety initiative taken by his union’s members in Fermanagh:

“Our reps among the school bus drivers in Fermanagh are very concerned that children are being left at risk due to the failure of local schools and the Education Authority to integrate reflective strips into uniforms and bus passes.

“In 2009, the Education Board launched an initiative to promote safe uniforms to much fan-fare but with the exception of Devenish College and St Kevin’s in Lisnaskea – there has been a complete failure to deliver.

“This is a particular problem for children living in rural areas where there are no street lights and unfortunately the threat posed is likely to mount if, as proposed in the recent Department of Finance budgetary briefing, street lights are turned off in all but key arterial routes and motorways. Continue reading

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Nu-Track worker wins compensation for ‘unfair dismissal’

Mark PearsonUnite claims Tribunal decision shows benefit of union membership

Unite Regional Officer, George Brash, welcomed the decision of the Employment Tribunal which found that a Unite shop steward at Nu-Track had been unfairly dismissed by the employer in January 2017.

“The Industrial Tribunal found that Mark Pearson a Unite Shop Steward had been unfairly dismissed by Nu-Track management in January 2017. As a result the worker, Mark Pearson, who has since found employment elsewhere, was awarded a compensation payment of more than £4,160.

“We’d like to thank our legal team at Donnelly & Kinder who defended our members involved in this case.

“This decision by the Industrial Tribunal and the compensation paid to our member shows the benefit of being part of a ‘fight-back’ union like Unite which has the resources necessary to defend our members and representatives in cases such as this.

“In the aftermath of this decision by the Tribunal, Unite’s presence has been solidified at Nu-Track and throughout the wider Wrightbus group”, Mr Brash concluded.

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