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Northern Ireland Water Dispute Over Pensions

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Last Ditch Talks With Minister Today To Avert Industrial Action By GMB Members In Northern Ireland Water From Dec 22nd Over Changes To The Pension Scheme

Proposals will mean that all workers pay more and most will need to work for more years for less than under the current pensions scheme says GMB.

GMB and the two others unions in the water group of trade unions in Northern Ireland are meeting with Danny Kennedy, Minister for Regional Development, today (Wed 17th Dec) to ask that the Minister intervene in order to avoid a dispute over attempts by the government owned company to scrap the current pension scheme.

Yesterday it was announced that GMB members in the water industry will take industrial action after more than 90% of the 1,000 workers who were balloted backed action. The action which is coordinated by the water group of trade unions, GMB, NIPSA, and Unite, will begin from 22 December.

The unions have announced a campaign of industrial action including withdrawal of overtime, refusal to provide ‘on-call’ services and a work to rule. Northern Ireland Water rely heavily on such voluntary activities and the action is likely to lead to significant disruption as repairs, including bursts, are delayed.

Alan Perry, GMB Regional Officer, said “The proposals which Northern Ireland Water want members to agree will mean that all workers pay more and most will need to work for more years for less than under the current scheme. This is in the context where over the past few years NI Water staff accepted below inflation pay settlements and more than 900 workers left under cost cutting and restructuring exercises.

However the pension scheme remains healthy, it is affordable, and staff are rightly angry that they are expected to pay more to get less. There hasn’t been industrial action in the water service in many years. However staff have voted overwhelmingly to take this step and all three unions are committed to supporting water workers. No-one wants to see action such as this, particularly at this time of year, but staff are saying enough is enough.”

Ends

Contact: Alan Perry (GMB) 07974018410 or Ryan McKinney (NIPSA) 07407735509 or Joanne McWilliams (UNITE) 07879692024 or GMB press office 07921 289880

 

 

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