Unions suspend strike to allow workers to be balloted on pay deal with council

Striking council staff could be back to work on Thursday if union members vote in favour of deal
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Wednesday 21 September 2022 13:56

The three trade unions involved in the strike at ABC Council have agreed to suspend their strike to allow their members to be balloted on a deal.

Last night the majority of councillors backed the approval of a conciliation agreement brokered by the Labour Relations Agency (LRA), between management and the Joint Trade Unions (JTUS) - Unite, Nipsa and GMB.

Following a vote, elected members approved the proposal for a bespoke local pay offer to staff, the council said.

The deal which will bring the industrial action to an end will cost the council annually in the region of £1.5m, with an additional £1.2m taken from Council reserves to fund the one-off cost of living payments. Payments relating to spinal points will be backdated to April 2022.

This morning the council and the unions met to discuss suspension of strike action.

A statement following that meeting, issued on behalf of the council and the Joint Trade Unions, said, "Following positive negotiations between Management and the Joint Trade Unions an agreement in principle has been reached and approved by Elected Members, it is agreed to suspend strike action from 0001hrs on Thursday, September 22, subject to a ballot of members on the agreement."

The GMB union said that the deal goes some way to helping the lowest paid council workers face the cost-of-living crisis and a hard winter ahead.

It added that their members would be balloted on the deal “in the coming days”.

Alan Perry, GMB Regional Organiser, said: “GMB members have fought hard for what was right and should be rightly proud of themselves, they now have a deal on the table winning a deal which will help to feed their families., 

“They want to thank the public for their support during the industrial action, which has been a struggle for everyone. 

"If accepted, this will go some way to helping the lowest paid council workers face the cost-of-living crisis and a hard winter ahead.  

“While welcome, this award from the council will not reverse the real terms pay cuts our members have suffered over the last two decades.

Should union members back the deal it would bring to an end a dispute which is now into its sixth week and has seen services disrupted across the borough, most notably bin collections.

Other services have also been affected, with leisure and recreation centres having their hours disrupted, events such as the Armagh Food and Cider festival cancelled and sporting fixtures which were to be played on council pitches also being axed.

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