Council workers resume bin collections

Council workers resume bin collections

13 January 2021

NORMAL bin collections have resumed after Newry, Mourne and Down Council management and trade unions announced the suspension of industrial action.

Refuse workers and other staff had started a work to rule on January 4 and planned a second strike day at the end of the month in a long-running dispute over legacy council pay and terms and conditions.

A joint statement from council management and trade unions GMB, UNITE, NIPSA and SIPTU issued last Friday said: “Following a period of intense negotiations between management and the recognised trade unions within Newry Mourne and Down District Council, a proposal has been tabled that has facilitated  the suspension of industrial action with immediate effect.”

Workers went on strike for one day early in December. Previous talks facilitated by the Labour Relations Agency between council management and the trade unions had previously broken down.

Last week, the council said that it had offered former Down Council refuse workers the same job deion and grades as those working in the former Newry and Mourne council and all refuse drivers and workers would see an annual increase in pay from April.

Mournes councillor Willie Clarke welcomed the suspension of industrial action and said that there were 20 crews out on Saturday who lifted a “significant” number of blue bins with the rest of missed blue bins collected on Monday and yesterday.

He said that bins scheduled for next week as per the collection calendar would receive a normal service, weather permitting.

The council’s Sinn Féin group leader added: “I welcome the industrial dispute has been suspended which will allow a deal to be worked through which will create pay parity for Down legacy council refuse workers, the work to rule resulted in many bins not being collected.

“I thank trade union representatives and council management for their endeavours to work their way through the issues involved.

“These are unprecedented times and our council staff like all front line workers face unprecedented pressures. We deeply appreciate their commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all our communities.”