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27 Sept 2022

Local Council workers set to strike after pay offer voted down

A vote took place at last night's full Council meeting.

Local Council workers set to strike after pay offer voted down

Workers at a local Council are set to commence all-out strike action after members voted against a pay offer at last night's full council meeting.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council are to become the latest local government district to be hit with strike action, after a pay offer motion was defeated by a single vote in a confidential meeting on Tuesday.

The proposal to settle the strike by offering  two pay point increments and a lump sum to workers – similar to that provided in neighbouring Derry City & Strabane and in Mid-Ulster District Councils - was voted down by a margin of just one councillor.

The all-out strike action will begin on Thursday September 8, with Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham pledging her support.

"Employers need to recognise the huge pressures the cost of living crisis is having on employees and their families. The vote by Causeway Coast and Glens councillors demonstrates a total failure to recognise the need to provide council workers with a living income," she said.

“Unite members at Causeway Coast and Glens, at Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon and at Lisburn and Castlereagh can count on the full backing of my union as they seek to defend jobs, pay and conditions.”

Regional officer for the Council, Gareth Scott, said he hoped other trade unions would now ballot members to join Unite in strike action.

"Unite the Union only suspended our action in the hope that councillors would support a deal similar to that which ended the disputes at Derry City & Strabane and Mid-Ulster council," he said.

"Disgracefully the proposal was defeated last night with the narrowest of margins and this now leaves our members with no alternative but to commence our planned strike action from tomorrow [Thursday 8 September].

“We are hopeful that both NIPSA and GMB trade unions will now swiftly proceed to ballot their members and lend their strength to a joint strike action. Workers stand stronger when they stand together.”

A spokesperson for Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said the Council 'deeply regrets' that strike action is taking place.

"The Union has announced that a strike will commence at 00:01 hours on 8th September 2022.  Please note that this is a continuous strike with no end date.

"The strike action relates to a dispute over 2021-2022 pay which is negotiated nationally by the National Joint Council (NJC) on behalf of councils in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

"Further to this, Council has been negotiating locally with trade unions, which led to the matter being discussed at last night’s Full Council meeting (Tuesday 6th September 2022).

"Members were unable to reach agreement and therefore strike action will now proceed.

"Residents should be aware that some Council services may be disrupted.  The main areas which may be affected are waste collection, Household Recycling Centres, and street cleansing. 

"While no bin collections can be guaranteed during the strike period, residents are asked to leave their bins out for collection on their normal day and they will be emptied where there are sufficient crews to deliver a service.

"If bins are not emptied, residents are asked to take their bins back in from the kerbside and place them out again on their next scheduled collection day during the strike.

"We are once again asking all householders to make full use of their blue and brown bins to recycle as much waste as possible to maximise bin capacity.

"Leisure Centres may also be affected by this action, so please check your facility’s opening hours before attending. 

"The situation will be kept under review and we would ask residents to check our social media channels and website for any further updates.

"The Council deeply regrets that strike action is taking place and the impact this will have on residents and remains fully committed to finding a resolution through on-going discussions with Trade Unions with a view to full service provision resuming as soon as possible."

Pay disputes are currently ongoing at nine of the 11 council areas across Northern Ireland.

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