Council confirms suspension of strike after talks with UNITE and NIPSA

The four-week strike by Derry City and Strabane District Council workers is to be suspended, a council spokesperson has confirmed.

The Council has said the strike has been suspended to allow final adjustments on an improved pay offer.

A spokesperson said there has been further 'positive and constructive negotiations' on Friday with both the NIPSA and Unite unions.

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Following the meeting Unite the Union, on the basis of an improved pay offer presented by Council and as 'a matter of good faith', confirmed it will be suspending strike action planned for next week to allow Council to consider further proposed adjustments to the pay offer.

Unite members at a previous strike at the council offices.

On Thursday, Elected Members attending a Special Council meeting agreed an improved pay offer proposal that was brought before today’s local Joint Consultative Negotiation Committee (JCNC) meeting.

The spokesperson said: "During the meeting, the unions jointly acknowledged the improved proposals and ongoing positive engagement with Council and advised that the decision to suspend the strike will allow time for the finalisation of the improved pay offer."

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Council has welcomed the decision to suspend the strike and paid tribute to the positive engagement with the unions. It said it remained committed to continuing with further and final negotiations next week to arrive at 'a definite resolution to the pay dispute'.

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The Council reaffirmed its commitment to supporting and valuing its staff, adding that it is dedicated to reaching a mutually agreed and constructive outcome on this very important issue.

Aontú Councillor for Ballyarnett Emmet Doyle said: “Our workers deserve to have their demands met on terms and conditions and it’s a credit to their officials, senior Council officers and the workers themselves that a planned strike has now been suspended pending further discussions and adjustments.

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"Council will meet next week to progress discussions with the union. This progress is a testament to the workers and their determination for fair updated terms. We will always stand beside our workers.”

Sinn Féin councillor Michaela Boyle said: “We welcome notification from the unions that they have agreed to suspend their planned strike action for the next 4 weeks to allow for further discussion on an improved pay deal for our council workers.

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“It’s welcome news that we are close to a resolution that meets the needs of the workers and allows important services to continue running as normal.

“Sinn Féin will continue to support our council workers."

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SDLP Group Leader Brian Tierney said: “The suspension of planned industrial action due to begin on Monday is very welcome news. I want to thank representatives from Unite for the considered approach to this matter which will be a relief to ratepayers and workers while negotiations remain underway.

“We want to do everything within our power to avoid strike action, while recognising the genuine concerns of staff, and I appreciate that everyone has been engaged in these discussions in a constructive way.

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“The suspension of this strike action means that business will continue next week with no disruption to services. It’s important that each and every one of our council staff feel valued and that they can voice concerns when they have them, whether that be around pay, conditions or anything else. Without these staff vital council services would be unable to operate and it’s important that we appreciate the work they do.

“I remain hopeful that strike action can be averted entirely. I am committed to working with Unite representatives and others to reach a successful resolution in the interests of staff and ratepayers.”