Unite Union members begin strike action in Fermanagh

By Rebecca McGirr
UNITE Union Members held a strike outside Enniskillen Town Hall on Monday night calling for improved pay for Council workers, Education workers and Housing Executive workers.
They joined a number of striking workers across the North that are taking action this week following an overwhelming vote to reject a pay offer from local government employers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland of 1.75 percent for the year 2021-22 which the union has called a ‘real terms pay cut.’
Councillor Donal O’Cofaigh, who is Communications Officer for the Union stood in solidarity with the workers.
“The 1.75 percent pay offer is completely inadequate,’ he said. ‘Inflation is expected to hit 8 percent in April, at the same time the government is introducing a 1.25 percent increase to National Insurance contributions and it is likely that inflation will continue to rise due to the events in Ukraine.’
He said, ‘These workers have seen their pay go down by 22 percent in real terms over the last 11 years and in Fermanagh and Omagh I think 94 percent of workers voted for strike action, and as a trade unionist I will support all workers that are fighting for a basic pay increase.’
Speaking at the picket lines outside the town hall, Councillor Eamon Keenan said, ‘As a working class councillor I’m here to stand in solidarity with the council workers and the front line workers who never stopped working during the pandemic.
“I think with the cost of living rising at an extremely fast pace I believe that these workers are entitled to fairer wages and terms and conditions and I think it is important that they get that.’
At a special meeting in the town hall on Monday night a sentiment of support for the strikers was expressed by all councillors.
The strike is expected to cause significant disruption to council services, housing executive maintenance and school transport.

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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