Unions consider industrial action over council row

Unions consider industrial action over council row

15 August 2018

NEWRY, Mourne and Down Council has claimed there is no evidence to support trade union claims of staff conditions being eroded.

The council issued the statement in the wake of an all-union emergency meeting in Newry last Wednesday evening.

More than 200 employees met at Ballybot House, all of whom are members of the four trade unions recognised by the council — NIPSA, SIPTU, Unite and GMB.

A vote of no confidence in council chief executive Liam Hannaway was passed. There was also a call for a ballot for potential industrial action.

The unions claimed Mr Hannaway had refused to meet with them to discuss concerns over the HR department’s approach to restructuring and job matching following the council merger.

They said this was due to the insistence of the unions that senior workplace trade union representatives attend to ensure “meaningful progress” was possible.  

The unions also claimed there had been an erosion of protected terms and conditions for staff and a failure by the council to meaningfully engage with the unions on major issues affecting members.

In a statement, the council said: “Newry, Mourne and Down District Council remains committed to protecting and promoting the wellbeing of all of its employees.

“Over the past three years we have undertaken and continue to undertake a process of engagement in dialogue with staff and trade union representatives around restructuring. It is our priority that staff terms and conditions are protected.

“During this process a number of new policies and procedures were agreed with trade union representatives. There is no evidence to substantiate the claims that terms and conditions are being eroded.

“The chief executive and senior management team remain committed to further discussions with trade unions and welcomes continued engagement in the interests of all parties.”