A groundbreaking emergency trade union meeting of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) employees has passed a vote of no confidence in its CEO with a ballot for potential industrial action called.

All 4 recognised trade unions NIPSA, SIPTU, UNITE and GMB rallied in large numbers on Wednesday night at Ballybot House in the city as relations between staff and management reached "an all time low".

A vote of no confidence on the Council's HR (Human Resources) had already been passed on to the Staff Commission concerning restructuring and job matching in the new super-council structure.

Joint Trade Union Secretary Kim Graham (NIPSA), told the Newry Reporter that 'angered'  union members had called for the no confidence in Liam Hannaway from the floor, with the vast majority of members supporting the action.  

"There is a toxic atmosphere amongst the union members and the Management at NMDDC", said Ms Graham.  At a packed meeting it was further decided that a public protest by hundreds of the unions' members take place at the next NMDDC full meeting this September in Downpatrick.

"I have met with the NMDDC Chair, Mark Murnin, and we now plan on lobbying all parties and councillors of NMDDC to listen and understand to what is being put forward by Management.

"We are ready for a long campaign and if necessary we will be ready to put forward legal challenges.  However, if the Council Management is willing to sit down and constructively and genuinely engage with us we will be willing to do so."

"Going forward we ask that all policies are signed off by the 4 joint unions so that all our members, Management and Councillors will know exactly what has been agreed to and what has not", added Ms Graham.