Unite attempt to find resolution collapses as bosses fail to make any offer whatsoever and seek weeklong delay
Female admin staff members’ continuous strike extends into second week in demand for first pay increase in years
April 10th: Unite Regional Officer, Sean Smyth, called on the residents of West Belfast to rally around striking female administrative staff at Belfast Taxis – formerly Falls Taxi Association – as their continuous strike action entered its second week:
“Unite has striven repeatedly to find a way out of this industrial dispute. Previously, we called off strike action twice to allow space for management to address the workers’ legitimate demands for a long overdue pay increase. Yesterday we invited Belfast Taxis directors into Unite offices in an attempt to agree a way forward. We raised our members’ pay demand and offered flexibility on negotiating changes to terms and conditions; unfortunately our efforts were thrown back in our faces as bosses left the meeting promising action only to later inform us by text that it would take them a week to discuss the issue.
“They offered the striking administrative workers absolutely nothing. We have no alternative but to proceed with the strike action.
“Belfast Taxis bosses have adopted a high-handed and arrogant attitude towards their staff and our trade union from the very start of this dispute. With a little will it could have been resolved quickly and to everyone’s advantage but the directors appear determined to treat their female staff with total disrespect.
“Belfast Taxis, was formerly the Falls Taxi Association, a company with a progressive history of delivering a much needed service to a community facing isolation and disadvantage. It is a disgrace that the current bosses have dragged that proud legacy into the gutter.
“They need to address the gender imbalance that exists at every level of their organisation. Unlike male colleagues, female admin workers have received no pay increases in years; there is now only one female taxi driver in 160 as the only other female driver resigned after more than twenty years’ service due to inflexibility on the part of bosses. There are no females among the Directors or in full-time management positions. Clearly this is a company in which women face structural disadvantage. The Directors must now act to address their problem with female workers.
“Unite remains determined to find a resolution but that can only happen once Belfast Taxis bosses treat their female workers with respect. In the meantime we call upon members of the West Belfast community to rally around the women standing on the picket lines. We will be escalating our dispute with protests planned in coming days”, Mr Smyth concluded.