SIPTU and Unite to ballot staff at Waterfront and Ulster Halls for strike action

unite-white-out-of-redBelfast City Council owned ‘arms-length’ body fails to honour commitment to workforce

Outsourced management seek to create two-tier workforce introducing poverty pay and attacking terms & conditions 

October 19th: Speaking together for their respective unions, Niall McNally, SIPTU Organiser; and Michael Keenan, Unite Regional Industrial Officer, confirmed they would be opening ballots for industrial action among their members working at the Waterfront and Ulster halls. The ballots will open tomorrow [Friday, October 20th] and remain open for two weeks.

On behalf of Unite the union, Michael Keenan, highlighted how commitments made when the facilities were outsourced have been broken by the City-hall backed management company: 

“Unite and SIPTU stood united against the outsourcing of our municipal facilities by Belfast City Council but the City Council ignored our concerns as they were intent on transferring their responsibilities to staff and the general public to an arms-length body, the Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall Limited company.

“In April 2016 when the move was made, workers were promised that there would be no diminution of terms and conditions. Unfortunately the arms-length management appear intent on ripping up those commitments to the workers as they seek to squeeze workers’ pay and terms and conditions.

“We call on Belfast City Council to end this failed attempt to cut workers’ pay through outsourcing services. They must take back control of both the Waterfront and Ulster Halls as well as the council’s Leisure facilities so that workers are employed directly by democratically-accountable municipal management at standard pay rates and terms & conditions”, Mr Keenan said.

Mr McNally on behalf of SIPTU condemned the approach to workers’ rights taken by Belfast Waterfront and Ulster Hall Ltd (BWUH Ltd):  

“Without engaging with representative unions, in April 2017 BWUH Ltd management initiated a recruitment drive for new staff who it transpires, will be employed on diminished terms and conditions compared with those standard for existing workers. This is clearly part of a plan to introduce a two-tier workforce and undermine the pay and T&Cs of existing staff.

“Belfast City Council is the sole-shareholder in this company – this is being done on their behalf – they cannot wash their hands of this deed.  Do councillors really want to be the sole shareholders of a company that is known for breaking agreements and employing staff on minimum standards contracts?

“Our unions stand together in our opposition to this attack on our members. Workers deserve fair pay and decent terms & conditions. We will be opening a two-week ballot for strike action commencing this Friday”, Mr McNally concluded.

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