Council workers angry over ‘ridiculous’ back pay

The current Derry City Council logo.
The current Derry City Council logo.

A group of Derry City Council workers have claimed the payments they have waited years to receive are being drastically reduced.

Employees at the Council contacted the Journal to express anger that they received in some cases just a few hundred pounds when they were expecting several thousand, while others have yet to receive anything.

The payments are the result of a process of evaluating workers under the 1997 Single Status Agreement between local governments and trade unions. The Agreement was designed to streamline all pay scales into one.

In Derry, a large proportion of the council’s staff - particularly the lowest paid - were owed back money after their jobs were evaluated at a higher level of pay.

Unions had negotiated a four year retrospective payment, however it has been claimed that refuse and street cleaning staff in particular have had their sums reduced drastically without any full explanation.

One worker said: “A lot of the men are gutted, We feel like we are being kept in the dark like mushrooms,

“They have taken money off us for silly things, maintenance- the money we were paid for the 42 minutes a day to clean your vehicle. They took that back off us. They are saying we owed them money, that they shouldn’t have been paying us a bonus.

“I think it’s ridiculous. If the Inland Revenue claimed you owe them money they wouldn’t take in off you in a block, they would arrange a payment plan. Why did Derry City Council feel they could just take the money and then send us a letter telling us they have taken it? Why if we owed them money was there no payment plan?”

A spokesperson for Derry City Council said it does not comment on individual staff.

She added however that the council had “reached agreement on single status in August 2014 following lengthy discussions with both unions and staff”, while urging anyone with any issues relating to the process to contact them or their union directly.