Workers have the right not to be dragged into divisive disputes over bonfires
Resolution to bonfires concerns must be delivered on inclusive basis
July 28th: Jackie Pollock, Deputy Regional Secretary for Unite, urged political leaders on Belfast City Council to consider the impact on front-line workers of their decisions on dealing with bonfires.
“In the past workers have been exposed to the political fallout over decisions taken by council management over bonfires. These decisions have been made over the heads of workers but have resulted in them being asked to take actions leaving them exposed to criticism and abuse.
“Workers simply going about their jobs have been accused on one side of collaborating in the building of bonfires and on the other for following management instructions to clear sites.
“Those who maintain the public parks and lift the litter perform a vital public function of benefit to all communities, especially those who live in deprived working-class areas who can access these public amenities regardless of income.
“Unite resolutely defends the right of Belfast City Council workers to go about their jobs without fear or subject to intimidation or threats. Over the past month, we have worked discreetly and effectively to ensure the safety of our members.
“Just as there is no possible justification for any threat to workers, there can be no justification for political decisions that unnecessarily expose workers to abuse, threats or intimidation of any form.
“We represent workers from all backgrounds; we stand for the right of workers not to be dragged into the divisive disputes over bonfires. Workers cannot be the collateral damage of a divisive party-political approach to the bonfire issue instead we need an inclusive long-term resolution to this issue” Mr Pollock concluded.