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UNISON's seven month old dispute with contractors Compass over staff transferring from national health trusts is at...
UNISON's seven month old dispute with contractors Compass over staff transferring from national health trusts is at an end, the union's Northern Ireland office announced today.

Following almost two months of negotiations and a further three weeks of consultation and balloting 93 per cent of members have accepted the peace package.

The package contains something for everyone and its most significant impact is on the staff directly hired by Compass since the contracts commenced. They have the least rights but they have achieved rights to payment for weekend working and overtime for the first time. Compass workers in Sperrin Lakeland Trust receive a higher pay rise which begins to close the gap between them and the workforce in Down Lisburn.

Staff who transferred from both trusts have and who normally work a 5 day week have all their rights to overtime and enhanced pay restored. and those normally working weekends have had partial restoration of their payments.

The offer reintroduces premium payments for weekend work; contains compensation for lost income; introduces new rights and improved pay for the lowest paid on current contracts; enables those still suffering a loss to keep their cases in court; contains pay increases for last year and this year - with additional money for the lowest paid in Tyrone and Fermanagh; and opens the way for further negotiations on a wide range of issues.

Patricia McKeown, deputy regional secretary, said:

'The offer does not restore everything that was lost but it does contain something for everyone. Part time women workers and the lowest paid workers stand to benefit most. The rights of full-time workers who normally work weekends have been partially restored but there are still equal pay problems and there will be more legal cases as a result. The current formula opens the way to fairness - it does not yet fully achieve it but it provides possibilities for the future.'

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