Derry and Strabane Council have given their support to a co-ordinated trade union Day of Action against austerity on March 13th.
The move was proposed by Independent Derry-Strabane Councillor Paul Gallagher at the recent monthly meeting of the supercouncil.
Colr. Gallagher had proposed that the council “support the Irish Congress Trade Unions Day of Action” , adding: “It is important that the citizens of Derry and Strabane turn out and send the message that we want proper jobs that deliver wealth and wellbeing for all in the Council area”.
Speaking to the motion, he added that there was a pressing need to protect jobs and frontline services, adding that the Stormont Agreement was “an attack on public services at the behest of the Tory government”, which could result in 20,000 public sector jobs now disappearing.
“It is a bad financial deal fit only for a land of pound shops and foodbanks. We need a better way, a fairer way,” he said.
Sinn Fein Councillor Brian McMahon proposed an amendment which effectively replaced the original motion with a different wording laying the blame for austerity with the government at Westminster and expressing council support for “any event which insists in highlighting the source and impact of austerity policies including the ICT Day of Action.”
Colr. Gallagher said that this was in effect a new motion, and should be rejected as such, but the council chairman Maoliosa McHugh said it was allowed under the amendment rules.
SDLP Councillor Gus Hastings meanwhile said that the main parties were the ones who were implementing Westminster’s austerity measures , and accused them of failing to protect vulnerable people.
Independent Councillor Gary Donnelly said austerity was causing community panic and welcomed the Day of Action as part of the fight back and a chance to give communities a voice.
The motion as amended was passed, despite unionist opposition.