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UNISON deeply regrets the death of our friend and comrade Eileen Sweeney and sends condolence to Eileen's family and to Patricia King, General Secretary ICTU. She will be a great loss to our movement.

Message from Patricia King General Secretary ICTU on the death of our esteemed colleague Eileen Sweeney

UNISON, the largest union in the health and social care system, has welcomed the latest announcement from Shane Devlin, the Chief Executive of the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, that Daisy Hill Hospital will be fully functioning and that emergency medicine will soon return.

UNISON notes and welcomes the announcement by the Minister of Health, Robin Swann MLA, that the Department of Health will provide funding for care homes to pay staff 80% of their salary when on sick leave for Covid-19 related reasons. UNISON Regional Secretary Patricia McKeown said:

UNISON has received the attached letter from the Minister for Education, Peter Weir MLA, explaining the approach the Department of Education intends to take in relation to the reopening of schools. UNISON has been engaging throughout the Covid-19 pandemic with the Department to ensure that the concerns of our members are heard and acted upon. We will continue to do so as part of the process around the reopening of schools. Members should continue to check our UNISON website and social media sites for updates as the planning around the reopening of schools continues.

Denise Walker, the chair of the Education Trade Union Group, representing unions with members working at all levels of education, has called on the NI Executive to ensure the continuance over the summer of the successful emergency measure to provide payments to almost 97,000 children entitled to free school meals who are receiving payments of £27 every fortnight per child instead.

On the 50th anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, UNISON assistant general secretary Christina McAnea looks at the fight we still face

UNISON notes the statement today (22nd May) by the Minister of Health, Robin Swann MLA that actions are being taken to relocate residents from Clifton Nursing Home in Belfast due to ongoing concerns at the way it is being run.

Unions across the whole NHS in Northern Ireland Scotland Wales and England have endorsed this blueprint for health workers responding to a post Covid 19 surge  in acute and community services .

Workplace reps  will be meeting with managements in the coming days and weeks in discussions on restarting services and coping with pressures in this pandemic environment.

All UNISON shop stewards will base our responses on how the key issues for our members highlighted in this blueprint are addressed.

UNISON notes the statement by the Minister of Health, Robin Swann MLA today (18th May 2020) that Covid-19 testing will be made available to all care home residents and staff.