Grafton College closure: Teachers occupy premises, ask to speak to Minister

unite-white-out-of-redOccupation follows snap closure leaving teachers owed month’s wages

Unite expresses support for workers’ decision

Trade union Unite, which represents English Language Teachers, this evening (Monday 3 December) expressed support and understanding for the decision by teachers employed by Grafton College to occupy the college’s premises following snap closure of the business last Friday leaving teachers owed a month’s wages.  Unite represents a majority of the teachers involved.

This evening the teachers occupied the Portobello premises demanding that Education and Skills Minister Joe McHugh visit the college and speak to the teachers.  They are also demanding that the Qualification and Quality Assurance bill designed to regulate the sector, which is currently making its way through the Oireachtas, be fast-tracked and amended to include minimum standards of employment for teachers, and that the owner of the college, Saeed Rehman, engage with them regarding the monies owed.

Expressing support for the teachers and sympathy with the anger and frustration which resulted in the occupation, Unite Regional Coordinating Officer Richie Browne this evening pointed out that Grafton College is just one in a series of colleges which have closed overnight leaving both teachers and students high and dry.

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Belfast City Council motion on sexual harassment is welcome but must be followed up with action to secure zero tolerance approach

Living Wage meetUnite launches its ‘Give us the goss on your boss’ survey of Northern Ireland hospitality workers

December 3rd: Speaking ahead of this evening’s vote on a Belfast City Council motion dealing with the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, Unite hospitality organiser, Neil Moore said.

“Sexual harassment is a huge issue for young workers, especially female workers, in precarious employment contracts in the hospitality sector. Unite is today launching our ‘Give us the goss on your boss’ survey to collect detailed information on sexual harassment and other workplace abuses throughout the sector.  Continue reading

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Grafton College: Unite English Language Teachers to hold protest this evening

unite white out of redTeachers owed a month’s pay following sudden closure

Case highlights need to fast-track legislation to protect teachers and students

December 3rd: Members and supporters of Unite’s English Language Teacher branch will be holding a protest outside Grafton College (Harbour House, Richmond Row,  Portobello, Dublin 8) at 5.30 pm this evening in solidarity with teachers who have been left without wages following the sudden closure of the school.

Unite represents a number of the teachers, who were not paid on Friday and are now owed a month’s wages, while students have been left stranded after paying fees of around €2000.

Commenting, Unite Regional Organiser Roy Hassey said today that the Grafton College case reinforces the need for legislation to protect the interests of both teachers and students in the highly-profitable English Language Sector, and he pointed out thatUnite has advocated a number of amendments to the forthcoming Qualification and Quality Assurance Bill designed to ensure compliance with minimum labour standards:

Continue reading

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Unite to meet with workers tomorrow following snap closure of Grafton College

unite-white-out-of-red23 teachers left unpaid by English Language school

December 2nd: Unite, which represents English Language Teachers, will be meeting with teachers at Grafton College tomorrow (Monday 3 December), following the snap closure of the college.  23 teachers, including a number of Unite members, have been left unpaid amid reports that Grafton College has been liquidated and intends to re-open at another location in 2019.

Unite will issue a full statement following tomorrow’s meeting with the workers affected.

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Belfast conference to hear of new partnership approach to Managing Mental Health in the Workplace

On Monday, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Equality Commission and Unite the Union NI are hosting a meeting attended by over 160 Northern Ireland employers and HR professionals and more than 60 union workplace reps and trade unionists to discuss how best to provide support for employees dealing with mental health issues.

“Having a focus on mental health as much as on physical health is a major issue which all employers need to address,” Billy Gamble, a Commissioner of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland, said.  “The Mental Health Foundation has identified mental ill health as the leading reason for absence from work in Northern Ireland, accounting for almost one out of every three days lost (32% of all days). Mental health issues also account for 39.1% of long-term sickness leave.

“There will be a full house of employers and HR professionals at this event. Many firms have already committed to our Mental Health Charter and have started implementing it and many more are interested and want to learn what’s involved.”

Jackie Pollock, Regional Secretary for Unite the Union, welcomed the strength of participation from the employers’ side.

“Mental health is one of the most pressing challenges faced by our union and by workers generally. Many disciplinary cases involve underlying mental health issues and our workplace reps are often the first to be approached by employees suffering from mental health difficulties. We know that a partnership approach to this issue is necessary.

“Many people experience mental ill health during their lives but, with the right help at the right time, they can recover. It is the responsibility of everyone in the workplace to create an environment that promotes well-being, including reasonable adjustments for mental illness. We want to see equality of opportunity and respect for their workers suffering with mental ill health.” he said. Continue reading

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