ABC Council strike action could continue 'indefinitely'
It's not exactly the kind of headline you want to be waking up to is it? The winter of discontent might be upon us a little earlier than anticipated. While the temperatures start to drop, the atmosphere in the ABC borough has been at boiling point for some time but this week it really does appear to be spilling over. The dispute has become political and the pitchforks are raised.
On Monday, the unions threatened further strike action if they cannot get a deal they feel their workers deserve. The Unionists have been accused of stifling an opportunity to break the deadlock. Armagh I understands there are concerns about the management of the environmental services department. Low staff morale, high levels of sickness absence and 'no sense of highly effective leadership' were among a number of issues raised in a damning confidential report into the department seen by Armagh I in April. (see our report here).
So far, unions and Council have agreed on two of the three conditions. A hardship lump sum has been agreed in principal and while an exact figure has not been made public, it is "over and beyond" £1,400.
Harmonisation has also been agreed, bringing the three legacy council areas under one payment structure, meaning some workers will receive in excess of £5,000.
However, the impasse lies with the incremental pay progression. According to the unions, without a mandate (majority vote among elected representatives), senior council management cannot negotiate. That has been voted down already by the Unionist majority in Council. Read/watch our latest report here.
That's currently the lay of the land. There were talks late on Monday night so this newsletter may well be out of date by then but we will bring you updates throughout the week as and when we get them.
On with the rest of the newsletter....
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