A leading trade unionist in Derry has urged unprotected workers to consider joining a union to safeguard their legal rights.
Liam Gallagher of trade union Unite says there are scores of workers in the city who do not have the protection afforded by union membership.
Mr Gallagher says over recent weeks he has been inundated with employees who are unsure of their rights under employment law.
He says many workers are facing pressures due to the economic downturn.
Mr Gallagher continued: “Over the last couple of months the union has been contacted by many workers who are experiencing major difficulties ranging from discipline, redundancies, changes to contracts of employment on less favourable conditions and employees being pressurised into working longer hours without remuneration.”
He warns that the situation looks like it will only get worse and encouraged anyone who is not already a member of a union to consider joining sooner rather than later..
“As the current recession bites deeper the tendency is to cut workers’ rights before profit margins.
“Many workers in the City often leave too late to consult a union with the result that decisions are made which are difficult to challenge and with no union protection matters cannot be pursued to Tribunal.”
“Unite urge all workers to join a union as the best form of protecting their employment rights,” he says.
The latest official figures show that more than 570 workers joined the dole queue in the city last year - a rise of almost 11% on 2010.