Councillors cannot wash their hands of this decision – they must intervene to secure jobs of Waterfront and Ulster Hall workers
Decision to lay off 140 workers made when employers had to contribute 33 percent of wages – it must be reconsidered now this has been reduced to five percent
Kieran Ellison, Unite Regional Officer called on Belfast City Council members to intervene to safeguard the livelihoods of 140 casual workers at council-owned Waterfront and Ulster Halls.
“The decision to lay-off 140 workers in the midst of a pandemic is nothing short of a disgrace. Many of those affected are skilled technicians with years of experience managing the successful operation of the Waterfront and Ulster Halls – some of Northern Ireland’s premier cultural centres. They have been singled out for lay off simply because they are employed on casual contracts.
“The councillors in Belfast City Council cannot wash their hands of this decision. These workers were employed by an arms-length company established and owned by the council itself. They must now intervene to safeguard these workers.
“The decision to lay off these workers was made when the follow-on job support scheme was first made public. At that time, employers were expected to contribute 33 percent towards the wages of workers, but this has since been lowered to only 5 percent. There is no excuse for the councillors not to force this decision to be reconsidered. 140 workers face joining lengthening dole queues, their families face uncertainty in the mouth of Christmas.
“What is more, there doesn’t appear to be any consideration of the consequences of these lay-offs for the retention of vital skills and experience necessary to manage these premier cultural facilities. Unite is calling on Belfast City Council to intervene and do the right thing by these workers”, Mr Ellison said.