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The Education Authority has released some Frequently Asked Questions to assist Education staff in their queries about schools remaining open over the Easter Holidays. 

Who should schools engage to provide cover over the Easter holidays where a school is remaining open?

Where requests for additional staff are received, the sequential approach the EA will take to identifying available workforce to support these schools will be as follows:

UNISON notes the announcement by the Minister for Health that 20 of our care homes now have cases of Covid-19. Responding to this announcement, UNISON Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said:

‘‘Our care homes have up to 16,000 residents all at risk. The homes have the potential to become petri dishes for the virus unless immediate testing, isolation and tracking commences.  

The Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions is concerned at reports that women in Northern Ireland are unable to access urgent abortion healthcare, despite the fact that new laws legalising abortion in Northern Ireland were brought into force at the end of March 2020.

On 23 March UNISON called for increased testing across Northern Ireland as a matter of urgency.  We did so because leading public health experts were echoing Dr Michael Ryan of the WHO on a daily basis.  Today's article in The Guardian must give us all cause for concern. 

The HSC Trusts across Northern Ireland have established a dedicated Covid-19 Helpline to address concerns and protect wellbeing for staff during the Coronavirus pandemic.

An email (shown below) has been circulated through the Trust network with a link to useful numbers for staff.

WORKFORCE COVID-19 - all helplines NOW OPEN

We recognise our staff are understandably anxious about the current COVID-19 situation and we are taking further measures to address your concerns and to protect your health and wellbeing.

It is with deep sadness that we learn today of the death from Covid -19 of our colleague and sister Margaret Beck from Sunderland in UNISON's Northern Region. Patricia McKeown, NI Regional Secretary said "Margaret was a champion for women's rights, workers rights and her local community both as a trade unionist and local councillor.

On behalf of our membership in Northern Ireland we salute her and send condolences to her family. We all dread this news but must take the time to mark a life well lived."

After discussions with UNISON and the BHSCT and SHSCT catering management, we are delighted to announce free meals and beverages for all Belfast and Southern staff across all sites. From Tuesday 7th April, this measure will be extended to all staff in all trusts.

Conor McCarthy, UNISON Royal & Muckamore Branch Secretary, said: "This measure not only provides free food and beverages for staff but also eliminates the transfer of money from person to person thus helping keep staff safe".

A message of support for Niall Murphy

Statement from Patricia McKeown, Regional Secretary