Council strike moves a step closer

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Derry City Council staff look set to go on strike next month following Friday’s meeting of the UNITE’s Local Authority Regional Sector Committee at the Unions Derry Offices on Carlisle Road.

The committee has unanimously recommended that members vote in favour of industrial action in response to a 1% cent pay offer.

A ballot of UNITE members will begin this week and in the likely event of a yes vote then a programme of industrial action will take place commencing with a one day strike on Thursday July 10.

Speaking after the meeting, committee chair Nigel Craig confirmed that strike action had been recommended for all of the union’s local authority employees in Northern Ireland.

“The sector has decided we will be campaigning for a yes vote in the ballot over industrial action, and if the ballot votes in favour then we will be recommending that all our members take part in a one-day stoppage on July 10,” he said.

UNITE represents over 200 Derry City Council staff including refuse collectors, drivers, gardeners and leisure attendants. Any industrial action is likely to lead to disruption including the potential postponement of funerals, refuse collections and closures to leisure centres that day.

“We understand that by taking industrial action there is likely to be disruption and this is not a decision that we have made without serious consideration.

“But the pay offer that has been made is risible. All the indicators are that the economy is growing. House prices are rising and inflation is rising. Yet, we have been made an offer of 1% with no opportunity for negotiation and that’s simply unaccepatble.If the employers want to sit down with us an negotiate we are more than happy to do so but that is not the case at the moment,” said Mr Craig.

He also confirmed that the proposed strike on July 10 will be the first stage in a programme of industrial action.

“The strike in July is only the first stage a we will be carrying out a programme of targeted industrial action that will continue until the employers agree to speak to us.”

In response a Derry City Council spokesperson said: “DCC is aware that all Trade Unions nationally are consulting with their members on their response to a 1 % national pay offer.”