Newry, Mourne and Down Council have issued a statement detailing their meetings with Trade Unions concerning the present work-to-rule by council staff.

In the statement they claim that the joint trade unions rejected an offer that they say would have seen refuse drivers in the former Down District Council getting an increase in their pay of £2450 by 1 April 2021, while operatives would have got an increase of £800 in the same period.

The statement reads "Newry, Mourne and Down District Council representatives involved in discussions to resolve the trade dispute met with the recognised Trade Unions at a conciliation meeting facilitated by the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) on 30 December 2020 and again on 4 January 2021.  Previous meetings facilitated by the LRA were held on 25 November 2020 and 11 December 2020.

"Management Side (MS) put forward proposals for all refuse collection employees within the former Down District Council area to be employed on the same job description and grades, as those working in the former Newry and Mourne Council area.

"Acceptance of these proposals would see wages increasing for refuse workers in the former Down District Council area.  Refuse drivers working in the former Down District Council area would receive an increase in their pay of over £2,000 on 1 December 2020 with a further increase of approximately £450 on 1 April 2021.   Refuse operatives would receive an annual increase in their pay of over £400 with effect from 1 December 2020 with a further increase of almost £400 on 1 April 2021.

"The Joint Trade Union Side (JTUS) rejected these proposals on behalf of their members.

"A further conciliation meeting has been arranged for Friday 8 January 2021."

Huge Concern

Also speaking on the dispute Slieve Gullion Councillor, Cllr Declan Murphy said that there is huge concern at latest developments in the ongoing dispute with Newry, Mourne & Down Council Refuse Staff and the inability of Council management to resolve it.

Cllr Declan Murphy.

“There is huge disappointment and indeed frustration  at the current situation and the inability of Council Management to resolve the issues involved with Trade Union representatives."

Cllr Murphy added "Our workforce are valued by all and their efforts particularly during the current Covid pandemic have been key to maintaining the health, wellbeing and safety of our community.

This issue must be resolved."

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