20 May 2022

Council furlough vote 'called-in' by Sinn Féin

The party have called for the decision to be looked at again

Council furlough vote 'called-in' by Sinn Féin

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council's decision not to top up furloughed workers wages by the extra 20% has been 'called-in' by the Sinn Féin group on the council.

The move means the decision will be revisited by the council after unionist councillors initially blocked a Sinn Féin motion on the issue.

Cllr Leanne Peacock topping up the wages was the 'right thing to do'.

"When the furlough scheme was introduced there was an appeal from government for employers to top up the full wages of their employees by adding the additional 20%," she said.

"That is the right thing to do and that is why we proposed that as a responsible public sector employer that the Causeway Coast and Glens Council should certainly ensure their staff are paid 100% of their wages.

"Unfortunately at the meeting when this was decided Unionist councillors turned their backs on council staff and voted against our proposal. 

“However, in the hours and days following the meeting it became clear that Councillors had not been provided with all the information required to make an informed decision on this issue.

"Sinn Féin have engaged with Trade Unions, staff and council officers and it became clear that Councillors had once again been asked to make a decision with only part of the information on the issue.

"Trade Unions had not been meaningfully consulted prior to this decision and discussions with council on the furlough of staff are still ongoing.”

“We are disappointed that the full information was not available to elected members prior to the decision been taken and potential agreement with Trade Unions had not been fully explored- we felt given these facts that it was essential to ‘call-in’ the decision.

"Councillors were not given an opportunity to arrive at a decision giving consideration to all of the relevant information and facts which erodes the democratic process and is by the very definition, the purpose of the ‘call-in’ mechanism.”

NIPSA's Alan Law reiterated its call for the council to ensure its workers receive 100% of normal pay.

He said: "NIPSA reiterates it’s call on Causeway Coast and Glens BC to enter into constructive negotiations to agree a process for the furlough of staff which will ensure that Council can maximise funding available to it from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

"We continue to insist that our members terms and conditions of employment are respected and that staff who are furloughed receive 100% of normal pay.”

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