Sinn Féin Council Leader Calls For Resolution Of Dispute

A Mournes Councillor has urged Newry Mourne and Down District Council management and trade unions to find agreement to avoid industrial action.

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A Mournes Councillor has urged Newry Mourne and Down District Council management and trade unions to find agreement to avoid industrial action.

Sinn Féin Councillor Willie Clarke said: “A ballot amongst workers at Newry, Mourne and Down District Council by UNITE, GMB, NIPSA and SIPTU unions has resulted in a substantial majority of workers calling for industrial action writes Laura Barr.

“Sinn Féin has met with all the unions to discuss the issues involved and obstacles to the process.

Cllr Willie Clarke, Group Leader of Sinn Féin on Newry Mourne and Down District Council.

“Following these talks, as Council Sinn Féin group leader, I have made suggestions on how we can improve the atmosphere of the process and ensure all sides are committed to ensuring Downpatrick refuse workers are brought level with their fellow workers in Newry.”

As previously reported by Down News on 15th November (see link below), NMDDC workers voted overwhelmingly in a ballot to take industrial action to defend pay and conditions.

A statement posted on the social media networks of the four trade unions said they are to agree plans for the escalation and potential strike dates tomorrow (17 November).

Sinn Féin group leader Cllr Willie Clarke added: “Sinn Féin believe that council management should work to resolve the outstanding issues.

“An imminent priority is equality for the Down legacy refuse workers.

“It is essential that council management bring proposals to negotiations with Trade Unions next week to finally allow legacy Down refuse workers to have the same terms and conditions as Newry workers.”

Cllr Clarke said he welcomed that council management have had discussions with Kevin Kelly, Joint Trade Union Secretary and the Labour Relations Agency will be assisting new negotiations.

“These new talks will focus attentions and allow all sides to find resolution to the issues of the harmonisation of council workers terms and conditions and the agreement on a voluntary redundancy scheme that will protect the ratepayer while recognising the long-term dedication of employees” he added.

RELATED LINKS: 15th November 2020.