Derry workers take to picket lines as week long strike for better pay begins

Public sector workers in Derry commenced a week of strike action to win improved pay this morning.

Members of the Unite trade union employed at Derry City and Strabane District Council, the Education Authority, the Housing Executive and a number of local schools and colleges, have taken to the picket lines after rejecting a pay offer of just 1.75 percent for the year 2021/22.

The union says the strike will result in significant disruption to council services, housing executive maintenance and school transport.

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It is seeking locally-agreed improvements through raising pay grades, reduced working hours, more paid holidays and other benefits.

A week of strike action commenced this morning.

Unite says pay has stagnated over the last decade meaning real terms falls in workers' standards of living of 11 percent over the period.

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “I stand with and fully support all our Unite members working for Local Authorities, the NI Housing Executive, the Education Authority and schools who have taken to the picket lines across Northern Ireland today.

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“You are right not to sit back and accept an insulting 1.75% pay offer while you are having to cope with rocketing inflation. It is a disgrace that workers are once again being asked to pick up the bill for the failings of politicians.

“You can count on my continued support in your fight for localised pay deals that secure real improvements to pay. Unite will be backing you all the way.”