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Following intensive negotiation Health Service Trade Unions have secured agreement on the protection of terms and conditions for health service staff volunteering to support their colleagues in the independent sector at this time of great need.

Our aim has been to protect residents and staff alike.

On the key issues of testing and PPE, all residents and staff in the Covid 19 homes will now be tested and the full range of appropriate PPE will be available to the workforce.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions is asking workers and the general public to participate in the “We Remember Them All" campaign for International Workers’ Memorial Day which takes place on Tuesday 28th April.  

International Workers’ Memorial Day #IWMD20 has extra significance this year because of the risks involved for workers doing their jobs in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemic. 

UNISON, the Royal College of Nursing Northern Ireland and the Royal College of Midwives Northern Ireland are today launching a joint campaign calling on people across Northern Ireland to observe a minute’s silence next Tuesday (28 April) to remember all the health, care and other key workers who have lost their lives to coronavirus across the UK and Ireland.

Workers Memorial Day 2020 is like no other, as frontline workers face unprecedented risks in carrying out their jobs.

Heartbreakingly, we also know that many workers have already lost their lives and we know that there will be others.

This year, to mark Workers Memorial Day, UNISON will be leading a National Minutes Silence with our colleagues in RCN and RCM. The minutes silence will be held at 11am on Tuesday 28th April 2020.

Tonight at 8pm the public is being asked to show its support for UNISON members and all those working in frontline public services responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. The public should join in a mass round of applause at 8pm while staying in their homes.

Anne Speed lead negotiator for Health Trade Unions has stated that discussions on Public Health Service staff  providing support to the clients and residents in private sector homes are underway but not yet concluded .

We are currently engaged with the Department of Health on this proposition and will issue a formal statement when this is completed.

The Equality Coalition is a broad alliance of 90 civil society organisations and trade unions in Northern Ireland that collectively campaign to promote equality. The Coalition is jointly convened by UNISON and the Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ). It provides a forum for unity between multiple sectors when campaigning for equality, while still allowing for the diversity of its members’ work and views.

UNISON notes with serious concern guidance published by Public Health England (17th April) on PPE shortages and the reuse of PPE.

Today (18th April) UNISON is calling for an immediate programme of testing to be implemented for residents and staff across care homes. This follows the publication of data by NISRA indicating that 26% of deaths involving Covid-19 have occurred in care homes and hospices. UNISON Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said:

‘‘Following the release of this data it is becoming clearer that emergency action must be taken by the Northern Ireland Health service.