Council refuse workers call for strike ballot

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A group of workers at Derry City Council have called for an industrial action ballot, if council management doesn’t budge on changes to pay, conditions and working practices.

The move, which could affect thousands of homes and hundreds of businesses across the city, was announced by trade union leaders following failed negotiation talks in the city on Saturday.

It’s understood around 180 employees including refuse collectors, street cleaners and refuse vehicle drivers have voiced their opposition to council mangagement proposals for changes. The move could have serious implications for those who depend on Derry City Council to have their rubbish collected.

Intense discussion between workers, trade unions and management have ended in stalemate, leading to what one union leader has warned could now be “serious industrial action.”

Saturday’s meeting was chaired by Liam Gallagher chair of the local branch and chairperson of the Irish Executive of Unite the Union. After full consultation the workers affected unanimously passed the following motions.

Firstly, that the Unite members within the Refuse Department of Derry City Council are opposed to management proposals for changes to pay and conditions and working practices. The second motion passed was that the Unite members within the Refuse Departmentof Derry City Council call for an Industrial Action Ballot if Derry City Council try to enforce their proposed changes to Pay and Condition and working practices.

Liam Gallagher speaking on behalf of the Irish Executive said that he fully understood the anger of workers.

He added: “These are workers who deliver the core services that our civic society needs and they feel that they have been poorly treated by the Pay and Review process which they have patiently waited years for,” he said.

Mr. Gallagher said he was now calling on local councillors to “bring some common sense to management of Derry City Council” to avoid what he said now looks like serious industrial action.