Newry.ie

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council employees are striking today. Picketers were in place this morning at Monaghan Row and at the Council Depot in Greenbank, Newry.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council workers striking outside the Council Depot at Greenbank Industrial Estate in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council workers striking outside the Council Depot at Greenbank Industrial Estate in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

At the Greenbank Depot one of the strikers, Ernie Devlin, Shop Steward for SIPTU  said "We are looking for equality of terms and conditions between Newry and Mourne and Down.

"The conditions in Down Council aren't the same for refuse workers and cleansing operatives. We are looking them to have the same terms and conditions as their counterparts in Newry and Mourne."

Noel White on the Picket line at Monaghan Row. Photograph: Columba O'Hare

Negotiate Properly

Mr Devlin hopes the one day strike will help get management to sit down and negotiate properly with them. "This is a one day strike action and in January we will be upping the ante if things don't change."

In a joint union statement a Spokesperson explained the reason behind the strike “The dispute centres over how pay differences and disparities in terms and conditions inherited from legacy councils more than five years ago will be harmonised. Due to management delay in engaging with us on this issue, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is now the last remaining council to resolve it. The point in contention is that for those workers whose pay grades are re-evaluated upwards, they will lose all pay progression accrued and will start at the bottom of the new grades.

“This is not acceptable to our members – it is a pay equality issue. While senior management have dragged their heels in dealing with pay harmonisation for lower paid workers, they agreed and have benefited from their own regrading years ago. We are just asking for some recognition of our members’ contribution since the establishment of the new council."

Pay Parity

Bridie McCreesh, Senior Rep with UNITE the Union explained that all the unions were taking part "We have UNITE, NIPSA, SIPTU and GMB"

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council workers striking outside the Council Offices at Monaghan Row in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie
Picketing outside the Council Offices at Monaghan Row in Newry. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/ Newry.ie

Ms McCreesh was protesting outside the Council Offices at Monaghan Row in Newry and explained that due to Covid they have had to carry out a Risk Assesment meaning that large numbers of strikers couldn't attend."We've had to tell people to keep away, just to keep us socially distanced and in compliance.

The union rep added "All we want is pay parity. We just want everybody to get what they are entitled to get. It's as simple as that. We're not asking for the moon we are just asking what peoples rights are, what they're supposed to get and what they're legally entitled to."

 

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