Unite Registered Childminders seek meeting with Education Minister Peter Weir over inadequate support payments

Department of Education’s enhanced financial package amounts to a mere £150 a month in July and August when Covid-19 restrictions impact operations

Susan Fitzgerald, Unite regional coordinating officer

Susan Fitzgerald, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, challenged the Northern Ireland Executive on the inadequacy of supports provided to Registered Childminders at a time when pandemic restrictions are impacting revenues of operators across the sector. She confirmed that her union’s Registered Childminders branch was seeking urgent meetings with both Ministers for Education and Finance to discuss the situation.

“Registered Childminders and childcare workers continue to provide a vital service to working parents but do so under severe restrictions over the numbers of children and the number of households that they can accept children from. These restrictions are resulting in a sharp reduction in the income of childminders and there’s a particular need for government financial support to sustain the livelihoods of these self-employed workers.

“Unite the union is the collective representative body for Registered Childminders. Our Registered Childminders’ branch wrote to Minister Peter Weir weeks ago to request a meeting to discuss our concerns and suggest a system of financial compensation based on the actual reductions in enrolment incurred. Unfortunately, this request was rejected and instead the Department of Education has brought forward a financial package amounting to a bare £150 per month for July and August – when restrictions will apply.

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Collins Aerospace job losses blow highlights urgent need for Stormont Aerospace rescue plan

Management plans for 235 redundancies at Kilkeel site as Covid downturn impacts demand for aerospace production

Kieran Ellison Unite Regional Officer

Stormont must bring forward furlough extension to enable vital skills retention and enable upskilling for future growth

Kieran Ellison, Unite Regional Officer with responsibility for his union’s membership at Collins Aerospace in Kilkeel, confirmed that his union had been informed by management of proposals to make up to a quarter of the workforce at the site redundant.

“Collins Aerospace are proposing to make 235 redundancies in their workforce of 948 – almost a quarter of the total directly employed.

“This news will be devastating for the Collins Aerospace workforce and the local community in and around Kilkeel. Job losses at this scale will be a hammer blow to the local economy and will mean uncertainty for many other workers and small businesses dependent on these jobs for a livelihood.

“This is only the latest in a series of severe jobs blows to Northern Ireland’s Aerospace sector. Unite is estimating that the Kilkeel job losses will cost the local economy £10 million a year.

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Aer Lingus/Stobart routes and base announcement is welcome boost for Belfast City Airport but must translate into the retention of skilled and experienced former airport workers

Stormont must now act to protect jobs and skills, and regional connectivity, by securing a bespoke package for Northern Ireland  

George Brash, Unite Regional Officer

George Brash, Unite Regional Officer for workers at Belfast City Airport welcomed the announcement by Aer Lingus that they would be operating six new routes from the airport in coming months.

“Today’s announcement by Aer Lingus/Stobart Air of plans for six new domestic connections from Belfast City will come as a very welcome boost for our members at the airport and raises hopes for a future. The collapse of Flybe, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, resulted in the catastrophic loss of 85 percent of flights and denied the airport of vital income for overnight parking and rental from the airline’s base. We are therefore particularly happy that Aer Lingus/Stobart Air has confirmed that they will base a number of aircraft at the airport.

“Flybe workers who have been out of work since the collapse are skilled and experienced and available to take up employment opportunities under any recruitment drive.

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Hospitality and tourism workers protest at Stormont to demand a say in their sectors’ reopening

Socially-distanced protest set at Parliament Buildings today [July 21st at 1pm] to include attendance by workers in health and manufacturing

Members of Unite will hand in a letter to Economy Minister Diane Dodds demanding an urgent meeting on the need to secure jobs and skills

Unite the union, hospitality organiser, Neil Moore, explained that union members working in the hospitality and tourism sectors felt it was necessary to bring their demands to Stormont given the failure of politicians to listen to their voice. The action is part of a UK-wide week of action by hospitality & tourism workers.

“Unite has commissioned research which indicates that between ten and fifteen thousand hospitality workers in Northern Ireland face the threat of redundancy in the coming weeks.

“While nearly every whim of business owners have been central to the plans to reopen this industry – the voice of workers has been totally excluded. We have genuine concerns for safety and for our industry. 

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Driving instructors warn of COVID-19 risks in absence of sector-specific safety protocols

Unite logo white out of red

Potential 20,000 daily personal interactions in sector

July 12th: Unite, which represents driving instructors throughout Ireland, today (Sunday) warned that both instructors and learners could be at risk unless rigorous safety protocols are developed which take account of conditions specific to the sector.  The union has written to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan highlighting instructors’ concerns, pointing out that they were not consulted prior to being included in Phase 3 of the re-opening ‘roadmap’, and asking the Minister to facilitate engagement between all stakeholders in order to develop sector-specific safety protocols.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Jean O’Dowd said:

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