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Council tabled terms which would see refuse drivers receive pay increase of almost £2,500 by April

Bin lorry drivers in the old Down District Council area would see an increase in their annual salary of almost £2,500 by April if unions had accepted the deal put on the table.

That’s according to Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, which is involved in an ongoing pay dispute with union workers over pay and conditions.

On Monday, members of all four staff trade unions, Unite, GMB, NIPSA and SIPTU, agreed to work-to-rule agenda – a job action in which employees do no more than the minimum required by the rules of their contract – with a second 24-hour strike date confirmed for January 27.

The unions accused Council of refusing “to engage positively in the talks at the Labour Relations Agency”.

In a statement released by Council today, a spokesperson, said: “Newry, Mourne and Down District Council representatives involved in discussions to resolve the trade dispute met with the recognised Trade Unions at a conciliation meeting facilitated by the Labour Relations Agency (LRA) on December 30, 2020 and again on January 4, 2021.

“Previous meetings facilitated by the LRA were held on November 25 and December 11.

“Management Side (MS) put forward proposals for all refuse collection employees within the former Down District Council area to be employed on the same job description and grades, as those working in the former Newry and Mourne Council area.

“Acceptance of these proposals would see wages increasing for refuse workers in the former Down District Council area.

“Refuse drivers working in the former Down District Council area would receive an increase in their pay of over £2,000 on December 1, 2020 with a further increase of approximately £450 on April 1, 2021.

“Refuse operatives would receive an annual increase in their pay of over £400 with effect from December 1, 2020 with a further increase of almost £400 on April 1, 2021.

“The Joint Trade Union Side (JTUS) rejected these proposals on behalf of their members. A further conciliation meeting has been arranged for Friday, January 8.

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