DfI Roads workers at Woodburn depot to strike over inaction on management bullying

After 90.9 percent strike vote, workforce pickets to be deployed at Woodburn DfI Roads in Derry/Londonderry during twenty-four strike, which starts midnight on Thursday, July 22rd

Gareth Scott, Regional Officer

Road Service workers’ union Unite warns first twenty-four hour stoppage at Woodburn likely to escalate in absence of Ministerial intervention

Gareth Scott, Regional Officer for Unite confirmed that his union had written to Department for Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon to seek her intervention to address management bullying and avert industrial action by DfI Roads Service workers.

Unite members working for DfI Roads Service at the Woodburn Depot have voted overwhelmingly to take industrial action in respect of bullying. Our members claim that they have been bullied by their manager for years, they have raised it informally and nothing was done; they then submitted formal complaints, again nothing was done and no investigation was invoked (although it is now being invoked in response to the industrial action ballot). 

“Not only was no investigation set up, there has been no precautionary separation introduced (e.g. temporary suspension or temporary transfer of the manager the complaint is against), thus the manager the complaints are against has continued to be in charge of the complainants. Obviously our goal is to end of bullying in the workplace; however the workers’ immediate demand is for precautionary separation so as to protect the complainants (victims) whilst the investigation is conducted. This could be done by either temporarily suspending the manager on full pay, or temporarily transferring the manager, if the latter action is taken then the employees would be prepared to suspend the action and await the outcome of the investigation.

“Following a ballot of members in which 90.9 percent indicated their support for a strike. Notice has been served on the employer of a first, one-day strike at the Woodburn depot on Thursday July 22nd

“Unite understands that there are allegations of bullying on other deports and question whether there is a culture of bullying in Nichola Mallon’s Infrastructure Department. We have written to the Minister to demand an urgent meeting to raise our concerns directly. In the absence of intervention at Ministerial level, this industrial action is likely to escalate both at that site and at other DfI Roads depots where workers are discussing balloting on similar grounds.

“Nichola Mallon must now act to avert the disruption. We are calling on other workers to respect our members’ picket lines and not to cross for the duration of the strike action”, Mr Scott stated.

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