Anger at council plans

Members of the NIPSA union pictured outside Derry's Guildhall, protesting a job cuts at Derry City Council. (1801SL07)
Members of the NIPSA union pictured outside Derry's Guildhall, protesting a job cuts at Derry City Council. (1801SL07)

NIPSA members at Derry City Council are due to speak to councillors at a meeting on Tuesday to outline their opposition to plans to restructure the local authority.

Alan Law from NIPSA said he will make a presentation to the monthly meeting of Derry City Council to brief elected members about what he described as the “concern and anxiety” about the plans.

Part of the proposed restructuring could involve merging the Council’s seven existing departments into three, a move which unions have warned could cost up to 30 jobs.

The report on the restructuring, which has been given to unions, acknowledges that a redundancy scheme and voluntary early retirement scheme may have to be implemented as part of the plans.

The report also included research carried out by PriceWaterhouseCooper which found that “significantly” more Derry City Council staff earned more than £50,000 a year than staff at other comparable councils.

Union representatives met Derry City Council’s chief executive on Tuesday to discuss the restructuring proposals.

Mr Law said local NIPSA members are not happy at the plans.

“When the branch committee members met with the chief executive on Tuesday and asked about where the proposals were going she made it clear that redundancies will affect all levels and not just senior management,” he said.

The NIPSA representative also said union members are angry at claims that outgoing Council chief Valerie Watts has been offered a pay rise in a bid to make her stay in Derry.

Ms Watts is due to take up a new position at Aberdeen Council shortly.

“People are aghast. They are being told that jobs may have to go on one hand and on the other significant pay rises are being considered for the chief executive,” he said.

Liam Gallagher, chair of Unite in Derry, described the plans a “body blow” to local workers. “How are the workers who empty the bins, bury the dead, look after parks and leisure centres expected to swallow this news?” he asked.

“This puts pay to the notion that we are all in this together and our councillors’ proposals would do justice to bankers and the Tory party,” he said.