United Strike: Further disruption to municipal services expected in parts of NI this week

Further disruption is expected to municipal services in many parts of Northern Ireland this week due to the Unite union continuing to strike in a pay dispute.

Unite members in most councils and the housing executive went on strike last Monday while members of the Education Authority (EA) union followed suit on Tuesday.

They are on strike after rejecting a 1.75% pay rise amid soaring inflation.

Read more: Unite strike: NI schools will face further disruption next week

Some municipal services have been affected as a result, including garbage collection, street cleaning and the operation of certain sites.

Belfast City Council has confirmed that some of its play parks are closed until Monday May 9 due to the ongoing strike across NI.

The Ormeau Recycling Center is also closed, but other recycling centers and amenity sites remain open.

Some other council venues and services may also be closed at various times, including City Hall, Belfast Zoo, community centres, play centres, pitches, bowling greens, parks and public toilets and services including pest control, noise control and dog sitters.

All burial and cremation services will operate as normal.

Declarations of death will take place normally while short appointments can still be made online for the collection of schedules.

A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said that while it “fully respects the right of staff to take industrial action”, the disruption continues.

“As a result of the strike, the council is experiencing considerable disruption to a number of services such as rubbish collection, street cleaning, recycling centers and a number of other services.

“The level of impact is variable across all departments and is subject to change throughout the week,” the spokesperson said:

The local authority provided up-to-date information on the affected services.

But Ards and North Down Council confirmed on Friday that the strike there, which was due to run from Tuesday May 3 until May 15, has been suspended.

On Sunday, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council said staff due to strike this week had also agreed to ‘pause’ their action, adding: ‘Our services will therefore operate as normal from Tuesday, and we will continue to engage with our unionized colleagues.

But as Unite members in other councils, education and housing across Northern Ireland prepare for a second week of action beyond the bank holiday, the union has denounced the “misinformation of employers”.

Several councils and council officials have claimed in recent days that they have no authority to strike a deal with Unite.

Last week the chief executive of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon ​​council said that since ‘the price of pay is nationally agreed and negotiated’ there was nothing for the council to negotiate .

Other councils have taken a similar approach to strikes.

Unite, however, insists there is scope for a breakthrough that could end the strike.

A union spokesperson said: ‘Employers can develop local formulas that would allow for a higher supply than the current 1.75%, which is well below the current real rate of inflation (RPI) of 9%.

“Most other pay and conditions – such as overtime and public holidays – can be set locally, allowing councils to move.”

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘Nobody wants to hear about what the NCJ can’t do – what we need to hear is how they will use the powers they have to deliver a fair wage.

“A 1.75 per cent offer is not a pay raise – it is a pay cut and is simply unacceptable to this union. Unite members need to see real improvement in their pay and conditions. These employers can and should now provide that.

  • April 25-May 1 and May 3-May 8: Unite members in the NI Housing Executive; nine councils (Antrim and Newtownabbey; Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon; Causeway Coast & Glens; Mid & East Antrim; Belfast City; Derry City & Strabane; Fermanagh & Omagh; Lisburn & Castlereagh; and Mid-Ulster); and three further education colleges (North West Regional College; Belfast Metropolitan College; South Eastern Regional College)
  • April 26-May 1 and May 3-May 8: Unite members at the Education Authority
  • 6 May: Unite members at Newry, Morne and Down District Council

Read more: Board services and NI schools face two weeks of disruption

Read more: Belfast businessman says the sight of a filthy and run-down city center is ‘absolutely heartbreaking’

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