Virgin Media: Unions to decide on action following talks with company

Unite logo white out of redDecember 17th: Unite, which represents workers in Virgin Media along with Siptu, today (Tuesday) said that unions will await the outcome of talks with the company before deciding on the form of any industrial action.  The announcement follows an invitation from Virgin Media to talks, which unions hope will take place on Thursday.

Earlier this month union members voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action on foot of attempts by the company to impose compulsory redundancies and to bypass previous collective agreements.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Brendan Byrne said:

“Unions have always been available to meet with the company, and we are glad that they have now issued an invitation to talks which we hope will take place on Thursday.

“The mandate for industrial action given by union members earlier this month remains in place, and we will await the outcome of talks with the company before deciding on further steps”, Brendan Byrne said.

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All parties should follow through on their election promises to include restoration of NHS pay parity in Northern Ireland talks process

Unite Conference 106

A cross-party commitment to a payment necessary to avert planned strike action by local NHS workers this Wednesday

Welcoming the commencement of fresh inter-party talks on the restoration of a functioning Northern Ireland Executive, Kevin McAdam Unite Lead officer for Health, called on all parties to commit to restoring pay parity as a key plank of the negotiations.  

“The 2014 decision of the Minister for Health to break pay parity and those of subsequent Ministers who failed to reverse this policy opened a pay gap between NHS workers in Northern Ireland and in England, Scotland and Wales. In the more than one thousand days of absence of a functioning government, that gap has only widened because of the way these decisions have been interpreted by the likes of Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly in the Department of Health. Continue reading

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Union members in Virgin Media Ireland set for industrial action

Unite logo white out of redDecember 9th: Unite, which represents workers in Virgin Media along with Siptu, today (Monday) announced that union members have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action.

The move follows attempts by the company to impose compulsory redundancies.  In addition, the company is proposing redundancy terms which are inferior to those previously collectively agreed.

The company has to date failed to engage with unions to resolve the issues in dispute.

The strike committee will meet next week to decide the nature and timing of the industrial action to be taken.

Commenting, Unite Regional Officer Brendan Byrne said:

“Our members are extremely disappointed not only at Virgin Media’s failure to engage with their employees’ representatives, but also at the company’s breaches of a collective agreement dating back to 2008. 

“Management have unilaterally decided which workers are, and which workers are not, covered by collective bargaining.  This is unacceptable to unions and our members.

“Resolution of this dispute is in the company’s hands, and unions remain available to talk”, Mr Byrne concluded.

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Employers must recognise and make adjustments for workers with hidden disabilities

pe_00694840Unite seminar for shop stewards and health & safety reps hears of impact from Fibromyalgia, Autism and Mental health

Taryn Trainor, Unite Regional Women’s & Equalities Officer explained that her union’s seminar for workplace reps on Hidden Disabilities was a highly appropriate way to mark International Day for Persons with Disabilities.

“Usually Unite organises a commemorative event to mark International Day for Persons with Disabilities, but this day we decided to hold a conference on Hidden Disabilities in the workplace. Our workplace representatives: shop stewards and health & safety reps, all too often find themselves dealing with hidden disabilities that no-one has diagnosed or maybe even noticed previously.”

The event had a focus on Fibromyalgia, Autism and Mental Health with speakers including Margaret Peacock, Director of Fibromyalgia Support, Tom Donoghue and Muriel Cuddy of Health and Fitness Ireland and Andy Hasley of Autism NI. Ms Trainor explained:

“Those suffering from Fibromyalgia or any other auto-immune diseases need reasonable adjustments at work but unfortunately they may have had these conditions for years without being recognised. Continue reading

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Unite members vote overwhelmingly for strike action despite attempt by Health Department Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly to interfere with union’s industrial ballot

Health and social care workers in Unite voted 82.4 percent in favour of strike action and 91.1 for industrial action short of strike action over pay inequality and the staffing crisis

Department of Health must address pay equality demand and end staffing crisis and waste on private agencies

In the absence of an adequate response from the Department of Health to the demand for pay equality, Unite in Health’s four thousand members across the health service in Northern Ireland will now join with broader planned strike action on 18th December across the Health and Social Care service.

Kevin McAdam lead officer for Health congratulated his members on their turnout and commitment to defending themselves and the wider NHS.

“Only last year, health and social care staff celebrated seventy years since the foundation of our NHS – which when it was set up was the ‘envy of the world’. They did this despite the fact that day and daily NHS workers are required to go way beyond their contractual obligations in order to sustain the service – a fact testified by the estimated impact of a simple work-to-rule.

“Northern Ireland NHS workers are the poorest paid in the UK – a fact that has resulted in a chronic staffing crisis rooted in a failure to recruit or retain staff and the abject failure to bring forward workforce development. The consequences of this policy has been to raise dependency on locums and private sector staff agencies – which represents another scandalous waste of NHS funding that should be going towards frontline provision.

“The permanent secretary has acknowledged the need for changes and improvements. The fact that he hasn’t directed funds to deal with staff pay simply amounts to financial mismanagement of the health budget in Northern Ireland.” Continue reading

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