Mar. 05, 2020 The UNISON, Unite and RCN health trade unions have voted to approve a new agreement on pay and staffing in Northern Ireland. The three unions were involved in various forms of industrial action at the end of last year, including the first full strike action in the RCN's history. The unions now have agreement that pay rates in Northern Ireland will be increased to be in line with those in England and measures will be discussed to increase staffing. A fourth union NIPSA did not support the pay deal but recognises that there was a majority vote in favour. In the meantime it is continuing its campaign around staffing levels, particularly in social services.
Feb. 20, 2020 The three main unions in local government - Unison, Unite and GMB - have rejected a 2% pay rise as a wholly inadequate offer from the employers. The unions have submitted a joint pay claim that aims to provide some redress for years of pay freezes and below-inflation increases. These have left local government workers some 22% worse off in real terms. The aim is for a new minimum rate of GBP 10 (EUR 12) per hour and a 10% increase for all workers.
Jan. 20, 2020 Industrial action by health workers in Northern Ireland (see EPSU Collective Bargaining News December 2019, 23 and 24) has been suspended as unions consult on a pay offer and initiative to deliver safe staffing. Both UNISON and Unite will recommend to their members to accept the offer which they say will deliver pay parity with the rest of the UK and provide funding to achieve safe staffing levels. It is not yet clear if the RCN will recommend acceptance. The fourth union in the dispute, NIPSA, will recommend to its members to reject the offer while also calling out its civil service membership on a strike over pay on 24 January.
Jan. 09, 2020 A long-running dispute in hospitals in North West England has been resolved with pay rises for workers employed by the outsourcing company Compass. Before the deal, Compass employees were on the national minimum wage (£8.21 per hour/EUR 9.65), while colleagues employed directly by the NHS were earning at least £9.03 (EUR 10.60). This meant Compass workers were losing out to the tune of around £1,500 (EUR 1760) a year (see EPSU CB News August 2019, 15). The agreement negotiated by UNISON and overwhelmingly supported by the workers means they’ll now receive a significant pay rise, more money for working weekends and bank holidays and an improved sick pay scheme.
Dec. 19, 2019 Four health trade unions in Northern Ireland - UNISON, Unite, NIPSA and RCN - organised a day's strike action on 18 December to demand urgent action on pay inequality in the NHS. Health workers in Northern Ireland are the lowest paid in the UK and unions argue that pay parity will be a major factor in delivering safe staffing levels. EPSU sent a message of support. The unions are also planning or have organised other forms of industrial action as part of their campaign (see EPSU CB News 22 and 23).
Dec. 05, 2019 Members of four health unions in Northern Ireland - UNISON, RCN, NIPSA and Unite - have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action, including strike action, to force the government to address pay inequality which leaves them the worst paid health employees in the UK. The unions also want urgent action to tackle staff shortages and to ensure safe and effective staffing levels.EPSU sent messages of solidarity. The unions are involved in a range of different actions but are planning a coordinated strike on 18 December.
Nov. 21, 2019 Both public services union UNISON and the RCN nursing union have voted for strike action in Northern Ireland over low pay and staffing levels. Members of both unions voted 92% in favour of strike action. The RCN’s action short of a strike will begin on 3 December building up to a strike on the 18th while UNISON will start its campaign on 25 November, also leading up to a strike on the 18th. The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance is currently balloting its members on action, again over low pay, and the result will be announced on 25 November.
Nov. 07, 2019 Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their long-running campaign for union recognition at the Interserve outsourcing company which provides maintenance and cleaning services at the Foreign Office. Four further days of strike action were planned for 7, 8, 11 and 12 November. Meanwhile members of the UNISON public service union are planning two days of strike action at three hospitals run by the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust. Around 1000 cleaners, caterers, porters, security and estates staff are threatened with outsourcing as part of a national trend in the health sector to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries. UNISON is campaigning against the initiative.
Nov. 07, 2019 The three main trade unions in local government - UNISON, GMB and Unite - came together to lobby employers in advance of negotiations on pay. The unions' pay claim is for an increase of 10% and a minimum pay rate of £10 an hour (€11.60). They are also calling for a two hour reduction in the working week (with no loss of pay), one extra day of annual leave and the ending of the freeze on allowances. The unions argue that local government workers have seen a 22% cut in pay in real terms over the last 10 years.
Oct. 24, 2019 The public services union UNISON has secured a major victory for around 900 outsourced security and cleaning workers at University College, London. The workers will soon see their holiday entitlement aligned with that of directly employed workers while pay, overtime, sickness and pension benefits will be brought into line by the autumn of 2021. Meanwhile the union is continuing its campaign to get better pay for outsourced workers employed by the Compass multinational at two hospitals in North West England. The minimum hourly rate for these workers is only GBP 8.21 (EUR 9.50 - the national minimum wage) while the minimum for directly employed staff is GBP 9.03 (EUR 10.50).
Oct. 18, 2019
As the text of the agreement of the European Union and the UK has become available, it is clear that this UK Conservative government has no ambition to seek a long-term alignment with EU workers’ rights.
Oct. 09, 2019 Workers employed by the Aramark outsourcing company at the government's Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have won their campaign to be paid a living wage. After two months of strike action the company agreed to pay a minimum of GBP 10.55 an hour (EUR 11.75) and also to improve holiday entitlement and sickness benefit. Negotiations covering other workers at BEIS employed by the ISS multinational are still underway.
Sep. 27, 2019 Unions in the UK and Ireland are both making moves towards a four-day week campaign with the TUC's initiative in the UK gaining momentum with support from the Labour Party. The TUC's conference last year put a four-day week on the agenda and last week's Labour Party conference set out the 10-year objective of a 32-hour week without loss of pay. Meanwhile public services union Forsa was the first Irish union to back a new coalition of businesses, environmental and other campaigning organisations to support a Four Day Week Ireland campaign for working time reduction.