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At the start of the pandemic in 2020, the UK Government introduced emergency legislation which allowed nursing and midwifery professionals to support the response to the Covid-19 pandemic by joining our temporary register.

UNISON welcomes the news from the Assembly Yesterday, as Pat Catney’s Period Products (Free Provision) Bill, Rachel Woods’ Safe Leave (Paid Leave for Victims of Domestic Abuse) Bill and Clare Bailey’s Safe Access Zones Bill all passed in the Assembly.

Well done to the UNISONs Women’s Committee and the UNISON policy team who have campaigned and supported these issues over the years and have worked hard to make the change.

UNISON will be holding a demonstration about the rising cost of fuel and travel expenses at Altnagelvin Today (Tuesday 22nd March) at 2:30pm. UNISON members will be delivering a letter to Western Trust CEO, Neil Guckian urging him to resolve the hardship being faced by workers simply carrying out the functions of their job.

UNISON along with NIPSA, Unite and GMB met with Minister for Education, Michelle McIlveen today to discuss pay and to make the case for a COVID recognition payment for education workers.

Commenting on the meeting Louise O’Hara, Regional Organiser said, “The Department of Education must step up to the mark and take responsibility for the education workforce. The UNISON members who play their part in educating and keeping our children safe must be recognised and compensated fairly. Platitudes and thanks will not pay the ever increasing bills.”.

UNISON Northern Health branch will be holding a demonstration about the rising cost of fuel and travel expenses in Cookstown today (Monday 21st March) at 2pm.

Health and social care workers such as, homecare workers, district nurses and occupational therapists are facing a mileage rate which is not meeting the cost of running their car to travel from client to client. If health and social care workers can not afford to complete these shifts it will impact on the entire health service, which is already in crisis.

"This report confirms and highlights extensive efforts by health unions to protect workers and patients" according to lead negotiator Anne Speed of UNISON NI.

 "During the early days of the pandemic many hours were spent in discussions with RQIA, PHA and Health Trusts to secure supply of PPE. We very quickly became aware of the shortfall in supplies and our members anxiety on their own safety and the safety of patients and clients needing care in the independent sector.

By the end of February all trade unions whose members are covered by NJC pay terms and conditions will have delivered a resounding rejection of the paltry pay uplift of 1.75%.

UNISON members have already strongly expressed their dismay and anger that Education and Council members would be considered to be worth so little. They stood up and were counted during the Covid pandemic, kept council services going and schools open for most of the pandemic.

On Friday 11th February, UNISON, the largest union in the Southern Trust, met with the Trust’s senior management team and outlined our members’ concerns about the recent “interim” decision to remove some emergency services from Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry.

UNISON members on NJC pay terms and conditions in Education and Councils have issued a resounding rejection of the 1.75% pay offer from the employer local government negotiating body.

"They are disgusted by this paltry figure and feel insulted that workers holding education and council services together during the second year of the pandemic would be considered to be worth so little,” said Anne Speed Head of Bargaining and Representation at UNISON Northern Ireland.