Congratulations from the Ireland Region of Unite to our new General Secretary, Sharon Graham

Sharon Graham has today been confirmed as the next general secretary of Unite, and will take over from outgoing General Secretary Len McCluskey tomorrow (Thursday, August 26th).  

Commenting on her election, Sharon said: “I am honoured to have been elected by our members, and I understand that the trust that they have placed in me brings with it tremendous responsibility.

“As general secretary, I will put all the power of our union into defending their jobs, improving their pay and protecting their rights.  

“Bad bosses take note.  A strong Unite is the best defence that our members can have – my focus now is to build that strength.”

Congratulating Sharon Graham on her victory, outgoing General Secretary Len McCluskey said:

“It’s a fantastic achievement and I am very proud to be handing over to our first woman general secretary.

“I have been hugely privileged to be at the helm of Unite for the past eleven years.  Sharon has been a valued and close friend and an integral part of my senior team throughout my time in office so I know from experience that she is a talented, dedicated and passionate trade unionist.  I have every faith that she will run our union in a manner true to its fighting back spirit”.

Chair of Unite the Union’s Irish Executive Committee Jeff Robinson said: “I know that Sharon Graham will work tirelessly to defend working people throughout Ireland, north and south, and build our union’s collective strength. She will have the full support of Unite’s officers, reps and members throughout our Region in that task“.

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daa: Unite to ballot for industrial action following management U-turn on Labour Court Recommendation

Company focus on outsourcing agenda unacceptable

Unite, which represents craft workers at Dublin Airport Authority, today (Friday) wrote to the daa informing them of the decision, taken at a General Meeting of members yesterday, to ballot for industrial action up to and including a full withdrawal of labour.

The move follows what Unite Regional Officer Willie Quigley described as a ‘complete U-turn’ by management which has now stated that the daa will not implement the terms of Labour Court Recommendation 22381, including access to options such as  voluntary severance.  The company’s U-turn follows the decision by Unite members to accept the recommendation in a second ballot, following a previous inconclusive ballot.

Commenting, Mr Quigley said:

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Portaferry to Strangford ferry workers call for action, including the conduct of an independent risk assessment, to address their health and safety concerns

Joanne McWilliams, Unite Regional Officer

Department for Infrastructure inaction on workforce fears over exhaust fumes on the Strangford II leaves crew constantly worried about their health and that of Ferry users, including school children

Minister’s promise to install Diesel Particulate Filters branded ‘too little, far too late’ as workers express willingness to strike over safety concerns

Joanne McWilliams, Regional Officer for Unite expressed her disappointment with the response to workforce health and safety concerns from Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon.

“Our members who operate the ferry service between Strangford and Portaferry have been raising health and safety concerns in relation to the Strangford II vessel since it came into service four years ago. They have given the Department time to resolve them but our concerns remain.

“Workers have documented how the engine and generator exhaust pipes on the Strangford II release noxious fumes at water level which mean in adverse conditions they can congregate on deck and in workplaces. This contrasts with the situation on the Portaferry II where exhaust stacks release fumes high up meaning this risk is avoided. Those who work on the vessels have repeatedly reported reporting dizziness, headaches and chest conditions as a result of the fumes.

“Unite wrote to Minister Mallon to raise these concerns and sought a meeting to hear at first hand the concerns and experience of the workers. To date no meeting has been arranged, instead the Minister’s response reiterated the stopgap measure of installing a diesel particulate filter on the Strangford II, a promise made in May 2020 by ferry management – with no indication of a timeframe even for that inadequate measure. Her disappointing response has only raised frustration among the workers who have to work with these fumes day after day – what she has offered is ‘too little, far too late’ as far as they are concerned.

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Survitec workers at Dunmurry to ballot for strike action

Ballot follows management refusal to move on pay claim

August 5th: Unite Regional Officer Neil Moore today (Thursday) confirmed that Survitec workers in Dunmurry are being balloted on strike action.  The ballot, which starts tomorrow (Friday) and will conclude on August 16th, follows the company’s refusal to entertain a claim for a 3% cost of living pay increase.

Survitec’s Dunmurry plant produces a range of survival and safety equipment, including marine life-jackets and life-rafts, immersion, chemical and radiological protection suits, fire retardant and gravity suits, marine evacuation systems and emergency ejection equipment. Key customers included the MOD, US and Australian navy, Shell, Lockheed-Martin and Princess Cruise lines.

Commenting, Mr Moore said:

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Workforce welcomes decision by Ards and North Down Borough Council to end outsourcing of leisure services 

Bangor Aurora Aquatic and Leisure complex; Bangor Sportsplex; Queen’s Leisure Complex, Holywood; and sports grounds and sports development services in northern part of borough will return to full council management and control as of 31st March 2023.

Decision to end outsourcing leaves Belfast City Council as the only remaining local authority in Northern Ireland with outsourced leisure services – to Greenwich Leisure Limited.

August 5th: Unite Regional Officer Joanne McWilliams has welcomed the news that Ards and North Down Borough Council voted to bring leisure services back in-house allowing the contract of delivery by the Northern Community Leisure Trust to come to an end in March 2023:

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