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UNISON has met DE EA and the PHA as part of an all education union delegation and raised a wide range of concerns for staff and pupils on substantive matters of health and safety.

Your UNISON NI Health Team across the HSC continues to support members and make challenges on all the key issues arising for our members.

The current surge and escalation of infection and hospital admissions has increased pressures on our members who have already been holding the line over a number of months.

Our health workforce members are appealing to the general public to comply with the regulations. This the best way to support them, protect the health service and save lives.

The UNISON Northern Ireland Education Team has been active throughout the Christmas period on our members behalf raising challenges and seeking answers on a range of concerns.

The initial postponement in reopening most schools to January 11th (announced last Thursday December 31st by the NI Minister and circulated to all our branches) was in fact secured by the joint efforts of education trade unions during the Christmas period.

There is no doubt that the attempt to force schools back on January 4th across England, Scotland and Wales caused some confusion and raised concerns for our members. However, we continued over the few days to advise members that we fully expected the NI Executive would announce closure as in the other parts of the UK.

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 due to 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.


With the new variant of the virus shown to being considerably more transmissible than the version prevalent in 2020 the previous risk assessment will no longer be fit for purpose.

As a matter of priority, specialist schools and colleges focus on:

The situation with schools at the moment is very fluid.

UNISON along with teaching unions and other support staff unions were given a schedule last Thursday announced publicly on the same day by the Education Minister of how schools would re-open.

This was set out in a circular from the EA which we attach a link to HERE.

It set out dates which are different in part from the rest of the UK.

Critical and Intensive Care - Staffing Pressures.

UNISON along with other health unions is currently engaging with Health Trusts and The Department of Health on a number of critical issues.

Staffing pressure which are causing real challenges in the delivery of intensive care covid and non covid related across the acute sector.

Employers are working to respond to the growing crisis by seeking voluntary response from staff.

However nursing staff may soon be faced with  directed assignments outside of their normal duties.

To mark International Migrants Day on 18 December, UNISON pays tribute and thanks all workers, migrant and local, who continue to risk their lives to provide essential services and keep vital sections of the economy going through the COVID19 pandemic.

UNISON is deeply saddened to learn of the death of our member Shirley Lucey, a dedicated Home Care worker with Belfast Trust,  who died from Covid 19 last week.   The tribute from Shirley's colleagues is deeply moving and we share their regard for Shirley.  We extend our condolence to her sister Linda and family circle and to her colleagues in the South and East Belfast branch of UNISON.  We call on everyone, everywhere to help keep the health care team safe.

Read the latest Newsletter here: