Notice given to IAC employees on Macroom N22 Bypass ahead of strike action

unite-white-out-of-redUnite questions the timing of this notice

July 1st: Commenting on the notice given to Irish Archaeology Consultancy staff working on the Macroom Bypass that their role on the scheme is coming to an end, trade union Unite, which represents commercial archaeologists, today stated its belief that the timing of such notice could be seen as “union-busting tactics “. The fact that industrial action was voted on with no definite knowledge of when the scheme will end, and the fact that archaeological works will continue after IAC have left, has led Unite to state that the timing “stretches the bounds of credulity “.

The industrial action being taken by Unite members working for IAC comes on foot of the company’s refusal to engage with their workers, either through the union or through the WRC.

Commenting, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne said:

“Coming as it does in advance of our member’s industrial action on July 4th, the decision to give notice to IAC staff can at best be regarded as an extreme co-incidence, and at worst as union-busting tactics.

“Should this be the case,  such tactics will not succeed. Unite represents archaeologists working on a number of IAC projects, and Unite will take all action necessary to secure decent treatment for our members. IAC continue to win tenders and advertise for positions, so any effort to isolate union members seeking further work will be immediately obvious.

“The resolution of this dispute is in IAC’S hands, with the easiest route to resolution being through direct engagement with the union of their employees’ choice” Richie Browne concluded.

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Macroom bypass:  Archaeologists to down trowels in dispute with IAC

unite-white-out-of-redWorks to be halted on July 4th following leading archaeological consultancy’s refusal to talk to Unite 

Macroom stoppage first in planned nationwide series of actions

June 27th: Members of Unite’s archaeological branch working for the Irish Archaeological Consultancy on the Macroom bypass will be taking strike action on Wednesday July 4th.  The action follows the decision by Unite members working for IAC to take industrial action on foot of the company’s persistent refusal to engage with Unite regarding a pay claim, either directly or in the Workplace Relations Commission.

IAC has been contracted to carry out archaeological works on the N22 Macroom bypass. Eight Unite archaeological branch members employed by IAC will be “downing trowels” at Bealick and Sliabh Riagh, as well as a small logistical facility near Cappagh West, on July 4th.  In addition, other Unite members working on the project will not be passing the picket.

The stoppage in Macroom will be the first in a planned nationwide series of strikes by IAC workers seeking decent treatment.

Commenting, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne said:

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Public have less than three-weeks to safeguard Belfast’s bus lanes and bus services

unite-white-out-of-redDrivers’ union urges public to bombard Department for Infrastructure email over opening of Belfast bus lanes to 4,500 private taxis

Questions must be asked over how unelected civil servants can reverse decades of public transport policy with minimal consultation

June 18th: Unite Regional Coordinating Officer, Davy Thompson, was scathing of proposals published quietly last week by unaccountable civil servants at the Department of Infrastructure which would reverse years of Executive policy and open bus lanes across the city to an estimated four thousand five hundred private taxis.

“With virtually no publicity whatsoever, the Department of Infrastructure quietly launched a mere three week consultation on proposals that would have the potential to transform the status of public transport in Belfast. Aside from a copy of the legal changes involved, the Department’s website provides virtually no documentation on what is being promoted as an ‘experimental’ and temporary proposal but one very likely to become permanent if it proceeds. They have offered no studies on the dramatic impact that this will have on bus services, there is no pro-forma to encourage members of the public to engage with the consultation and no public meetings to engage those who will be most affected.

“For decades, locally accountable Ministers have adopted consistent policies to promote public transport and the transition to a healthier and environmentally-sustainable transport system but now unelected officials in the Department of Infrastructure are seeking to overturn that and offer virtually no opportunity for members of the public to find out about their plans, let alone raise any opposition. Continue reading

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English Language Teaching: Unite tells Taoiseach “Don’t just tweet – legislate!”

unite-white-out-of-redJune 15th:  Unite, which represents English Language Teachers, said today that members were taken aback by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Twitter reference to the ‘huge’ intangible value of English Language Teaching to Ireland, given the Government’s persistent failure to legislate for decent terms and conditions in the ELT sector.  Unite’s statement followed a tweet by the Taoiseach this week in which he pointed out that three European Prime Ministers had studied in Ireland, noting that “the intangible value of English Language learning in Ireland must be huge”.

Commenting, Unite Regional Organiser Roy Hassey said: “The value of our members’ work may be intangible, but they would like to see a very tangible improvement in their terms and conditions.

“Unite has long highlighted persistent labour abuses in the sector, including bogus self-employment, and we have called on the Government to ensure that the pending Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Amendment) Bill, which provides for an International Education Mark, also establishes minimum employment standards for English Language Teachers.

“We would welcome the Taoiseach’s assurance that, given his recognition of the huge intangible value to Ireland of the services provided by our members, his Government will move to address their concerns without further delay.  Our members’ message is very clear:  Taoiseach, don’t just tweet – legislate!”, Mr Hassey said.

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ICTU Women’s Conference hears call for abortion services to be provided free of charge following referendum

unite-white-out-of-redUnite says low-income women must be able to access reproductive healthcare

June 14th: Speaking at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Women’s Conference in Enniskillen today (Thursday), Unite Regional Equalities Officer Taryn Trainor said that last month’s overwhelming vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment must not only be swiftly followed by appropriate legislation, but that steps must also be taken to ensure that income is not a barrier to accessing reproductive healthcare.  Ms Trainor also reiterated Unite’s call for the decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.

“Last month’s vote in the Republic to repeal the Eighth Amendment sent a clear signal that people in Ireland believe women should have bodily autonomy and access to the relevant healthcare services.

“In this regard, Unite is calling on Health Minister Simon Harris to confirm that women seeking a termination will be able to access services free of charge through the Maternity and Infant Scheme.  We are also urging the Minister to outline the steps he is taking to provide financial assistance to women forced to travel for a termination in the case of a fatal foetal abnormality prior to enactment of the legislation.

“Repeal of the Eighth Amendment represented a significant victory for women in Ireland.  Now the task is to ensure that income is not a barrier to accessing reproductive healthcare.

“We also need to continue campaigning for decriminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.  Abortion services must be free, safe and legal throughout the island of Ireland”, Ms Trainor concluded.

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