Chairperson of Unite the Union in Derry, Liam Gallagher, has said that he has been “inundated” with calls from Derry City Council employees who are angry over the Council’s decision to approve a pay rise for the post of Chief Executive.
Mr. Gallagher described the pay increase as “disgusting” and “unjustifiable”.
“This pay increase is a body blow to our members who have had a pay freeze last year and are facing actual reductions in their pay through pension cost increases and cost of living rises, if not redundancy,” he said. “It’s totally disgusting and unjustifiable. How are the workers expected to swallow this news, the workers who empty the bins, bury the dead, look after parks and leisure centres and who have been waiting on a job evaluation from our City Fathers for the last 10 years and are existing on low wages? This puts pay to the notion that we are all in this together and our councillors’ decisions would do justice to bankers and the Tory party. The ratepayers of this city would need to ask serious questions about the level of local government representation that we are getting.”
Mr. Gallagher explained that as a result of the reaction from members within Unite and other trade unions they plan to protest outside the Council offices at Strand Road next week.
“A lot of the people we represent are earning between £168 and £230 per week. Can someone please tell me how they are supposed to endure pay freezes whilst other people are able to get an 11 per cent increase in their salary? It’s madness and totally unfair.
“I’ve been in contact with many of the other trade unions and they all feel the same way. Everyone in the public sector is being told that their wages will not be increased over the next three to four years. As a result of the Council’s decision to increase the salary of the Town Clerk we intend to protest. Our voice must be heard.”
One Derry City Council employee, who did not want to be named, said that he felt let down and isolated by the councillors’ decision to approve the pay increase.
“I’ve heard that pay for the chief executive has gone up to over £100,000. It would take me years and years to earn that sort of money,” he said.
“I feel so angry that at a time when some of my colleagues could lose their jobs the Council have thought it a good idea to increase the wages of the top job. It makes me sick.”
Mr. Gallagher went on to describe each of the political parties involved in passing the pay increase as “out of touch”.
“Do our councillors not get it? There are people struggling to keep a roof over their heads in this city and for some reason they’ve decided to increase the wages of the chief executive. They’re all completely out of touch.”