Workers sent home on sick leave as £50 materials cap undermines patching work
April 3: Unite’s Regional Officer with responsibility for employees at the Roads Service, Gareth Scott has given details of the impact of a materials cap which has been enforced on depots across Northern Ireland:
“In the past week, Unite warned about the likely impact of the severe cuts to Roads Service budget but the reports we have received from our reps on the ground yesterday (Thursday April 2) provides an insight into the difficulties being posed for managers trying to deal with the situation.
“In a number of depots in the Southern region, all industrial workers were confined to the depot as managers were unsure what to do with them in the absence of materials. We understand that workers have been told that this situation is ‘until further notice’.
“Planning which potholes will be dealt with is now happening on a day-to-day basis with only R1 potholes [the very worst category on major roads] being patched and only in the absence of six to eight square metres of such potholes will R2 potholes be considered. Despite this fact, the client side are still marking R3 potholes but this is work that will never be done.
“In the Eastern region, the situation was so bad that some workers with restrictions were sent home on ‘sick pay’ as there was not restricted work to do.
“It is clear that these cuts have been enforced with no assessment of their scale or their impact. This is an intolerable situation and Unite is calling an emergency meeting of our reps to decide our response to this situation.
“We are calling on the Minister and wider Northern Ireland Executive to take immediate action to resolve this situation before it gets worse”, Mr Scott concluded.