Cross-sector strike action announced by Unite union in Derry & Strabane and across NI

Unite the union yesterday gave notice of pending strike action for a pay increase by its members across all eleven local Councils, as well as a host of other bodies.

Unite said the industrial action from next Monday will also include members who work within the Education Authority, the NI Housing Executive, and a number of schools and colleges.

Ballot results in Derry City & Strabane District Council among its members was 94 percent for, similar to other Councils across the north, while the Education Authority and NI Housing Executive was also 94 percent for, it said.

The strike action was announced after members rejected a pay offer from local government employers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland of 1.75 % for the year 2021-22, and Unite said it is seeking localised improvements through raising pay grades, reduced working hours, more paid holidays and other benefits.

Unite Lead Regional Officer for local authorities, Gareth Scott.

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Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “I want to congratulate my members working in local authorities in Northern Ireland for the strength of their ballot for strike action; they have the full backing of my union in their strike action. The employers must now respond by tabling a pay deal in line with our members’ expectations and to meet punishing living costs.”

Lead Regional Officer for local authorities, Gareth Scott, called on management to negotiate and highlighted the strength of feeling among his members.

“These ballots confirm the determination of Unite members in local authorities to secure a decent cost of living increase. The majorities in favour of strike action in councils, the education authority and the Housing Executive were exceptional; our members are calling time on real terms pay cuts.”

He added that management ‘must now engage with us’ to identify how they can address members’ pay expectations within the NJC framework so as to avoid potential disruption to council services, school transport and housing executive maintenance.

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The union said that picket lines will be going up on Monday morning for the first week of strike action by Unite members.