Joint call from NICMA and Unite for extended support to Registered Childminders as survey highlights downturn to incomes across sector

Extensive survey of Registered Childminders identifies large loss of earnings across the board with almost two-thirds not having returned to operating capacity

Northern Ireland Child Minding Association (NICMA) and Unite issue joint demand for extension to Childcare Recovery Support scheme and establishment of a contingency fund to replace lost income

Trade union Unite, which represents Registered Childminders, working in cooperation with the Northern Ireland Child Minding Association (NICMA), provided Minister Peter Weir with results of a survey of workers in the sector.  

The research highlighted the huge impact that the Covid pandemic has had on revenues to Registered Childminders. Almost 65 percent of respondents indicated they were not back to full capacity and more than 70 percent said that they had lost children from their enrolment as a result of the pandemic. 

One quarter of childminders said they had lost three or more children from enrolment equating to a loss of between £60 and £105 per day prior to other costs and overheads being taken in to consideration. 

Responding to the results Patricia Lewsley-Mooney of NICMA said,

“It’s important that Minister Weir understands that Registered Childminders were the lynchpin and provided the majority of the childcare during the previous lockdown, often under capacity, with little help or recognition from Government.

“It is therefore vital that registered Childminders are included in any future funding package and treated fairly and equitably and not as an add on. This survey shows that 65% of Registered Childminders are still not up to full capacity, this proposal will go some way in supporting the sector to survive over the coming months, to ensure that there will be the capacity needed when parents eventually return to work.”

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Stormont Executive must intervene to support livelihoods and skills of hospitality and tourism workers

Neil Moore, Unite Hospitality Organiser

After meeting Economy Minister, Diane Dodds, Unite delegation calls for direct financial payments to hospitality workers as previous handouts to businesses have not been passed onto workers on reduced hours and facing redundancy

Call for ban on exploitative practices such as zero-hour contracts, fire and rehire arrangements and bosses’ opportunist reductions of contracted terms

Speaking after a meeting between a delegation of Unite hospitality workers and Economy Minister Diane Dodds, workers called for urgent intervention by the Stormont Executive to safeguard vital jobs and skills in the sector.

Matt Gill, Unite Hospitality representative, who works as a bartender commented:

“Yesterday’s meeting with Minister Diane Dodds offered us an opportunity to raise directly the concerns of workers in our sector. Covid has had a catastrophic impact on hospitality and tourism workers. The sharp increase in jobless figures in no way fully conveys what has happened: there has been a huge wave of hidden job losses and there’s very widespread underemployment across the sector. Without direct financial payments to workers, plans to further restrict opening hours will only mean even greater reductions in incomes – pushing many more into poverty.

“The handouts to bosses to date have not been passed onto hospitality workers like me. Workers faced with the insecurity of reduced hours and the decimation of their jobs, do not care whether support comes from Stormont or Westminster. We aren’t interested in excuses, we need to see urgent action. Direct financial support must be put in place for workers in this industry ahead of the ‘furlough cliff’ at the end of October. The issue of statutory sick pay needs addressed – a mere £95.85 a week leaves workers who need to self-isolate facing extreme privation as a result. We are worried about paying our mortgages or rent and our bills – these supports are too little, but it is not too late to change this.”

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Seagate workforce left anxious over inadequate management response to Covid-19 outbreak

Liam Gallagher, Unite Regional Officer

Unite has been informed that at least three workers have tested positive and a further 15 left self-isolating in outbreak among Derry workforce of 1,400

Seagate workers not already in Unite encouraged to join as the best way to protect themselves in a time of insecurity

Liam Gallagher, Unite Regional Officer for workers at Seagate in Derry/Londonderry called on management at the factory to engage positively with his union in putting in place a system of workplace infection control.

Fear is widespread among the workforce in Seagate as news has leaked out about a growing Covid-19 outbreak in the factory. Unite is aware of at least three confirmed positive cases and we have been informed that a further fifteen workers are self-isolating but unfortunately management are refusing to engage with the trade union on the scale of the outbreak or their response.

“Given the size of the Seagate plant which employs 1,400 – any major outbreak in the factory could have devastating impact on public health spread transmission across the northwest. Unfortunately we have been told that workers have not been given a detail on this outbreak or the response taken by management to reduce risk of transmission. We understand that there has been no deep-clean of the areas potentially contaminated by infected workers. The entire situation is resulting in considerable anxiety and alarm among the workforce.

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Update: Spike Island workers reinstated

October 1st: “Spike Island Development DAC and UNITE the Union confirm that following a meeting today all issues have been resolved to the satisfaction of the parties. The staff concerned are returning to work for Spike (SIDC) for the remainder of the 2020 season.

Both parties are delighted to have a satisfactory and positive outcome to this matter and look forward to working together for the remainder of the 2020 season. Moreover everyone looks forward to a more successful tourist season in 2021. We all encourage everyone to support the unique experience that is Spike Island Visitor Attraction, a publicly owned exposition of our history and culture that is vital for our workers, Cork Tourism and our local economy.

In the spirit in which the meeting was conducted, and agreement reached, both parties have agreed to make no further comment.”

ENDS

Contact: Brendan Ogle, Senior Officer – Republic of Ireland, Unite the union

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Spike Island dismissals: Unite to meet with SIDC and Cork Co Council this afternoon

October 1st: Trade union Unite, which represents two workers dismissed by Spike Island Tours on foot of their campaign for sanitary facilities, today announced that they will be meeting with Spike Island Development Company and Cork Co Council.

Spike Island Tours is operated by SIDC, which is turn is wholly-owned by Cork Co Council.

Unite is demanding that the workers be immediately reinstated in accordance with their usual contractual terms and conditions.

The meeting will take place in Cobh at 2.30 pm this afternoon (Thursday) and will be attended by the workers concerned, Karen Doyle and Linda Lyons, and Unite’s Senior Officer in the Republic of Ireland, Brendan Ogle.

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