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UNISON welcomes the announcement by the Chief Social Worker that domiciliary care workers working for private sector providers will be able to be vaccinated at one of the Trust vaccination centres, following representations made by UNISON. This recognises the vital role that these workers play in caring for vulnerable people in the community and is an important step to ensure that both those they care for and workers themselves will be protected. Employers must ensure there is paid time for workers who are getting vaccinated so they are not left out of pocket for doing the right thing. 

Good news - Our members working for Electus Heath Care will now also be able to access the top up payment to make up 80% of their salary when they are forced to stay home because of Covid. 

UNISON Northern Ireland welcomes the election of Christina McAnea as our incoming General Secretary.

UNISON views the decision by the Belfast Trust to suspend scheduled surgical interventions in cancer treatment with alarm. This is truly a very serious development and will be deeply distressing for affected patients.

There are privately owned health resources which must now be marshalled. There is no reason why this cannot be effected without delay and on a not for profit basis.

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.

Context:

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:

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