Five years after council formation, management moves to resolve long-standing pay inequality dispute by extending pay uplift to disadvantaged workers
Unite welcomes moves to furlough workforce on 100 percent pay and to provide workers a special Covid-19 recognition payment to those who continued working on frontlines during lockdown
Reviewing the successes of the previous year Unite Regional Officer Gareth Scott, whose union represents frontline essential workers in the council, hailed the more positive approach being taken by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council to industrial relations.
“The last twelve months have represented a new departure in industrial relations at Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. We have seen the resolution of the most intractable dispute between unions and management – that of the pay inequalities for workers doing the same work which were inherited from the legacy Fermanagh and Omagh District Councils. At the start of this year, this issue was unresolved five years on from the council’s formation but it has been finally concluded after management offered a pay uplift bringing the rate paid to workers up to the same level across both former legacy councils.
“This is a very positive result and will remove many if not most of the pay and conditions differences which remain within the workforce.”
Turning to the response of the council to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Scott welcomed the progressive policies adopted by the council on this aspect as well:
“During the first lockdown, the council committed to ensuring that all workers, including casual, were retained throughout on 100 percent wages through their enrolment on the Government’s Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme. This approach set the bar for councils across Northern Ireland and demonstrated a strong commitment to the well-being of all council employees.
“In addition, the council introduced a one-off lump sum COVID-19 recognition payment which afforded an additional payment to essential staff who continued working throughout the lockdown. Taken together with the 2.75 percent pay increase this year – this has been a good year for council workers. “We hope that this progressive approach will continue as it offers a means to reset industrial relations at the council. There remain outstanding issues and developing areas of concern but Unite hopes that with the same approach we can secure the best outcome for our members on these as well. Unite is delivering for workers at Fermanagh and Omagh District Council”, Mr Scott concluded.