Members in NMDDC you are aware we recently held a ballot to gain your support for industrial action for strike and action short of strike action.

The results of all four unions:

NIPSA members have voted in favour of strike action and action short of strike action.

SIPTU members have voted in favour of strike action and action short of strike action.

GMB members have voted in favour of strike action and action short of strike action.

UNITE members have voted in favour of strike action and action short of strike action.

Below are some FAQ regarding the dispute
How does this dispute affect me?

This dispute is not solely related to refuse workers. It is fundamentally about each employee’s terms and conditions including rates of pay, hours of work and how allowances and rates for the job are set. In addition, management are attempting to make detrimental changes to important terms and conditions including redundancy pay – as an example a scale 3 worker, on full-time hours, with 25 years’ service would lose £15,000 if management’s proposed changes are implemented. 

How does job evaluation affect my pay?

Job evaluation determines the grade/pay scale/potential allowances for a job, by measuring aspects of a job including the skills required, decision making and creativity. In order to ensure that the process is fairly and equitably applied, a panel is required to review each job with a mechanism for appeal/review included.  In Newry, Mourne and Down District Council this is not happening. The Council engages an external provider to carry out the entire process as an individual with no appeal mechanism. This misapplication of the process, has had a detrimental impact on the grading of posts in this council.  As an example – refuse workers have had their jobs reviewed using the job evaluation incorrectly, which has resulted in them losing allowances worth up to £2500 per year with no change to their grade/payscale. The refuge workers are the first group of staff in the council to go through such a review. Further reviews are planned in Leisure, Administration, Payroll and Human Resources. Your job could be next!

What behaviours (by management) have led to the dispute?

Management have not consulted regarding any changes. They are using the pandemic and associated staff concerns to introduce an agenda of detrimental changes in the belief that staff will be fearful of losing their job and therefore take no action. Councillors are being asked by managers to make decisions on operational matters such as a redundancy policy, which should be negotiated between management and staff side. 

What are the significant terms and conditions that management are not adequately consulting on at present?

The significant terms and condition issues relate to legacy matters. These are currently protected by TUPE (Transfer of Undertaking and Protection of Employment) and include hours of work, maternity pay, redundancy procedures, differences in allowances, grades and ways of working.  Management have attempted to enforce changes to these significant terms and conditions issues with a blatant disregard for an employee’s legal right to protection under TUPE by submitting revised procedures to Council for ratification.  JTUS have written to all Councillors, advising of this unlawful action and that we would be taking any appropriate industrial and legal action to ensure compliance with employment law.

We will now seek to urgently negotiate a resolution to this dispute that will ultimately lead to:

  • a fair and equitable way to evaluate posts
  • a fair and equitable way of addressing pay and inequalities
  • a meaningful and inclusive way for negotiations into the future
  • a way to ensure we continue our best practices, eradicate our worst and improve as we see the need
Kevin Kelly
Higher Executive Officer