Newry council has stated trade unions declining to meet with senior management has prevented a dispute settlement as workers begin a strike action ballot.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) had avoided staff industrial action late last year (November 2022) following a pledge on wages.
However, the Joint Trade Union Side (JTUS) of NIPSA, SIPTU, GMB and Unite have now called for a vote of no confidence in council CEO Marie Ward following what they say is continuing unfair job evaluation practices.
Spokesperson for workers in all four unions, Kevin Kelly said: “Striking staff successfully campaigned for an end to unfair job evaluation practices, and that allowances would be maintained until RPA was finalised and that any amendments could only be done through negotiations.
“Management have reneged on these agreements, despite the unfair continuations of workers carrying out the same jobs but on different rates
“This council is now under the illusion that they do not have to honour the agreements reached that ended those campaigns.”
In response NMDDC a spokesperson said: “During November and December 2022, the chief executive held face to face meetings across several council locations, meeting 500+ staff.
“During the meetings, which were well received by staff, discussion took place on a number of strategic areas, including an appraisal of the agreement reached with the four recognised trade unions.
“In attempts to resolve the current dispute the council’s senior management team has invited the JTUS to meetings and has also contacted the Labour Relations Agency to seek their assistance.
“To date, the JTUS has declined to meet the council’s senior management team.
“The chief executive and senior management team remain committed to working with the JTUS and welcome continued engagement in the interests of all parties.”