Staff protest confirmed for upcoming council meeting at Downshire Civic Centre, Downpatrick on Monday, 3rd September
All four unions representing employees to bring forward unprecedented, joint consultative ballot on industrial action
August 27th: Alan Perry, chair of the Joint Trade Union side including GMB, NIPSA, SIPTU and UNITE, confirmed that all four trade unions representing staff and employees at Newry, Mourne and Down district council would proceed to a consultative ballot of their members [commencing Friday 31st August] and that the staff would be organising a protest at the September council meeting [Monday 3rd September]. He said,
“Two weeks ago, workers from all four unions passed an overwhelming vote of ‘no confidence’ in the council’s Chief Executive, Liam Hannaway. In the interim, management have done nothing to address their broken relationship with the workforce; indeed they have attempted to play workers against each other by misrepresenting our criticism of senior management in the HR department as being criticism of those employed by the department as a whole. What is more, they have added insult to injury by claiming to be unaware of what is at the root of the workforce’s concerns.
“Senior management in the council have adopted a heavy-handed approach in negotiations around job matching and restructuring around the establishment of the new Super-Council under the Review of Public Administration. They have also failed to engage through the formal negotiating structures with the trade unions.
“While the unions have had positive relations with some management of the legacy councils, it appears that the bad practice approach of others is now predominating.
“The trade unions have offered a series of dates for talks with management at the Labour Relations Agency. Following the failure of management to respond to this offer, the unions have been left with no choice but to proceed to a consultative ballot on industrial action. This is a historic mark of shame for the council as this is the first time that all four unions representing the workforce have jointly balloted for action.
“The industrial ballot will open for ten days commencing Friday August 31st. In the meantime the workforce will hold a protest at the upcoming council meeting in Downshire Civic Centre on Monday September 3rd. In order to avoid any further escalation, the trade unions are calling on the councillors intervene to ensure that the Chief Executive and his senior team adopt a more constructive approach to resolving this dispute”, Mr Perry said.