Electoral Office strike ‘completely unnecessary’

People pictured at strike outside of the Electoral Office in Derry on Friday.
People pictured at strike outside of the Electoral Office in Derry on Friday.

The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland (EONI) has described industrial action by workers outside its Derry office on Friday as “completely unnecessary”.

Members of Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance trade union (NIPSA) went on strike over the future of jobs in the Queen Street office.

However, when contacted by the ‘Journal’ a spokesperson for EONI said no decision had been made in relation to the future of the local electoral office.

“It is important to stress that no decision has been taken about the future of the Area Electoral Office in Derry/Londonderry,” said the spokesperson.

“The industrial action by NIPSA members at the time of the European referendum vote is based on misleading assumptions about proposals that have not even gone out to public consultation.

“This action is completely unnecessary since NIPSA members along with everyone else will have ample opportunity to take a full part in the public consultation later in the year.

“Whilst we wouldn’t want to pre-empt the outcome of the public consultation, there is absolutely no question of electoral services only being made available in Belfast.”

One of the NIPSA representatives at Friday’s strike told the ‘Journal’ staff were worried about the future of the their jobs as the EONI’s lease on the building in Queen Street is due to expire at the end of August next year.

The EONI staff on strike received the backing of local political parties including SDLP., Sinn Fein and the DUP.

SDLP leader, Colum Eastwood attended the strike to lend his support.

“The Electoral Office is an important and vital part of democracy in this city,” said Mr. Eastwood.

“The idea that this service could be moved to Belfast is just crazy.

“I met with the Secretary of State recently to make her very aware of the SDLP’s position on this matter.

“We want to keep the electoral office here in Derry and that’s why we support the protestors,” added Mr. Eastwood.