Joint Statement by HSC trade unions on developments on rollout of vaccination programme

Kevin McAdam, Unite Regional Officer

Our members working across Health and Social Care are under intense pressure as Covid cases continue to rise alarmingly. Large numbers of workers continue to have to self-isolate as close contacts or being symptomatic Covid-19.

 In such a stressful environment they need clear information as to why the JCVI (joint committee on vaccination and immunisation) have recommended the application at a later date of the second vaccine dose. This is important   particularly for those workers who have already received the first dose and have seen plans subsequently change.

Trade unions have approached the Public Health Agency seeking information. We are also asking the DOH to set out for all Health staff the rationale for this change so that Health workers and their families can have confidence in the vaccination programme moving forward. It is important that the administrative procedures which support these intended changes need to be fully resourced and provide absolutely clear detail on recall for all staff currently requiring second dose.

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Industrial action escalates at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council as mediated talks collapse after management refuse trade union proposal to end dispute

Kieran Ellison Unite Regional Officer

All four staff trade unions, Unite, GMB, NIPSA and SIPTU, warn work-to-rule will result in severe disruption to services hugely dependent on overtime and staff goodwill

Councillors vote to back proposal by independent members for trade unions representatives to appear before Policy & Resources committee ahead of fresh pay talks on Friday [January 8th]

A work-to-rule at Newry, Mourne & Down District Council commenced on Monday [January 4th] after mediated talks between management and trade union representatives broke down. The four workforce trade unions issued the following collective statement stating that the blame for the escalation lay entirely at the feet of council bosses.

“The trade unions entered into LRA-mediated talks with management with the hope of avoiding an escalation of industrial action by negotiating pay equality and a fair and equitable job evaluation process. Unfortunately talks collapsed after management were unable to respond to a counterproposal by the trade union side which had the potential to address outstanding TUPE issues and their implications for pay and allowances. All four unions were able to provide detailed opinion from legal counsel in support of our proposal and we expected the same from management. To our disappointment they refused our proposal claiming that legal opinion could not be obtained.

“The responsibility for the escalation of this dispute lies solely at the feet of council bosses who have had years to resolve this issue – but have only resolved those aspects ensuring a beneficial pay arrangement for themselves.

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Moy Park bosses must test entire workforce at Randalstown feed mill after latest Covid outbreak

Unite warns that virus outbreak has potential to impact feed supply to millions of chickens across Northern Ireland

Sean McKeever, Regional Officer

Sean McKeever, Unite Regional Officer warned management at Moy Park that they had to move swiftly to ensure testing of all fifty workers at a Randalstown feed mill after a recent Covid outbreak has led to at least a dozen cases among the workforce.

Moy Park is the biggest private sector employer in Northern Ireland – with a workforce which is at higher risk than any other in the manufacturing sector. Management have a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their workforce particularly in the face of the additional risks posed by new variant Covid.

“Unfortunately the workforce at the Randalstown Feed mill operated by the business are facing the consequences of an outbreak which we understand has resulted in at least a dozen positive cases. We have demanded urgent action by bosses – including the testing of all fifty workers at the site and, if necessary, its closure.

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Queens University Students Union workers celebrate major win as management u-turn delivers 100 percent furlough, backdated to November

Unite signs agreement with University authorities after Students Union workers vote overwhelmingly to accept offer

Welcoming the success of his union’s members, Unite hospitality organiser Neil Moore, said:

“This is a huge result for our members who were employed as casual, zero-hours workers at students union facilities at Queens. These workers had their hours cut to zero by the University, their employer, as a result of Covid-19 lockdowns but they were not re-furloughed at the end of July – leaving most with no income whatsoever.

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New approach to industrial relations by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council shows how Unite is delivering for workers

Gareth Scott, Unite Regional Officer

Five years after council formation, management moves to resolve long-standing pay inequality dispute by extending pay uplift to disadvantaged workers

Unite welcomes moves to furlough workforce on 100 percent pay and to provide workers a special Covid-19 recognition payment to those who continued working on frontlines during lockdown

Reviewing the successes of the previous year Unite Regional Officer Gareth Scott, whose union represents frontline essential workers in the council, hailed the more positive approach being taken by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to industrial relations.

“The last twelve months have represented a new departure in industrial relations at Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. We have seen the resolution of the most intractable dispute between unions and management – that of the pay inequalities for workers doing the same work which were inherited from the legacy Fermanagh and Omagh District Councils. At the start of this year, this issue was unresolved five years on from the council’s formation but it has been finally concluded after management offered a pay uplift bringing the rate paid to workers up to the same level across both former legacy councils.

“This is a very positive result and will remove many if not most of the pay and conditions differences which remain within the workforce.”

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