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Today (5th November 2020) the NI Executive will meet to consider the continuation of restrictions it has put in place to stop the spread of Covid-19 amidst media reports that they will be advised by health officials to further extend restrictions. Commenting in advance of the Executive meeting, UNSON Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said:

It is with great sadness that we learn of the death of our friend and comrade Peter Vayro. Peter bravely battled Covid 19.
He was a dedicated health worker and a lifelong trade unionist. For many years he was steward in Lagan Valley Hospital and from 2012 served our members as Health and Safety Officer of our Down Lisburn Health Branch.
Our Regional Committee, Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown and the staff of UNISON Northern Ireland extend our deepest sympathy to his son Saran and the entire family, many of whom are also front line health workers and UNISON members.

UNISON Northern Ireland welcomes the re-instatement of exemption from car parking charges for health staff.

Acknowledging the Minister’s recognition of the tremendous efforts by staff across the HSC the union’s Head of Bargaining and Representation Anne Speed said

UNISON the largest trade union representing workers in the community and voluntary sector in Northern Ireland, is calling on the NIHE and the Department for Communities to ensure that frontline workers’ pay rates in Supporting People Services are implemented by all providers of the service.  UNISON understand that as part of a review being carried out by the NIHE and DfC on Supporting People funding to providers, that workforce costs will be based on Agenda for Change NHS rates of pay.

UNISON is now aware that the Department of Health has written to HSC Trusts and care home providers to extend financial support to them to include the payment of sick pay up to 80% of average salary for workers when they are self-isolating, shielding or ill due to Covid-19. This support for sick pay was previously in place from 1st June to 31st August. UNISON Head of Bargaining and Representation Anne Speed said:

UNISON recognise the difficult situation the NI Executive find themselves in with mitigating the impact of the Covid pandemic on society.

However, UNISON has again asked the Department of Health to ensure that health workers are not at a financial loss if they need to take time off to care for children as a result of school closures. We have reminded the Department that our health workforce is predominantly female and thousands have caring responsibilities.

Vulnerable residents in care homes across Northern Ireland are facing an uncertain future and possible disruption over the coming festive season. 

GMB and UNISON have been told the Four Seasons Care Homes are preparing to sell off all of their 42 residential homes as part of an overall group restructuring. 

UNISON, the largest union in the health and social care system, has grave concerns  over the South Eastern Trust’s recent decision to open a consultant-led Urgent Care Centre at the Downe Hospital as opposed to their previous commitment to re-open the Downe Hospital Emergency Department on 19th October.

Join our campaign for free, nutritious school meals for all.

UNISON is campaigning for the delivery of universal nutritious free school meals for all children. We know our members working in school catering do incredible work and we want to ensure they are both recognised and valued for the work they do.

Our members – including nurses, paramedics, cleaners, domestics and porters – are beginning a campaign today (Thursday) seeking an early and significant pay rise of at least £2,000 to every worker in the NHS.

Staff in UNISON branches based in NHS hospitals, ambulance stations and clinics will be using social media and taking part in socially distanced events to press home the message that health workers deserve much more than applause for their efforts during the pandemic.