Workers at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council are commencing a work-to-rule from today 4 January with a further 24hr strike set for 27 January.

Members of all four staff trade unions, Unite, GMB, NIPSA and SIPTU commenced the work-to-rule today and Councillors have warned the action will result in severe disruption to council services as authority is hugely dependent on overtime and informal working practices.

Council workers strike in December at Greenbank in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare
Council workers strike in December at Greenbank in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Newry City Councillor, Cllr Gavin Malone said "Unfortunately this action will lead to a large number of bins not being collected over the coming weeks and I would recommend you ring the Council’s Customer Services phone number for uncollected bins during this period. This is a very unfortunate situation and I call on Senior Management to immediately commence discussions with Trade Unions to find a resolution to this very serious matter.

"I am very concerned that employment discrepancies have been allowed to drift for nearly 5 years without resolution and I will be asking the Chief Executive to expedite negotiations without delay to ensure our excellent Council services are restored as a matter of urgency."

The four workforce trade unions representing the workforce at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, issued a collective statement in December confirming that in light of the breakdown of mediated talks with management, industrial action at the council was likely to escalate significantly “The trade unions had hoped to avoid having to announce further industrial action but unfortunately council management refused to engage positively in the talks at the Labour Relations Agency. They have intransigently failed to recognise our members’ legitimate expectations for pay equality.

“It is simply unconscionable that while senior management years ago agreed a pay uplift for themselves through a regrading process, they continue to refuse to afford a similar benefit to frontline council workers. Council bosses are seeking to deny low paid employees the same annual pay increments that they themselves have enjoyed."

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