Unions to protest frozen pay outside Guildhall

Guildhall Square in Londonderry
Guildhall Square in Londonderry

Trade unionists representing education, housing and local government workers will protest outside the Londonderry Guildhall on Tuesday (February 4) frozen pay levels.

NIPSA, UNISON and others trade unions says they want to highlight the “injustice of being treated as second class citizens when it comes to pay.”

The unions claim that for three years members in education, housing, local government and further education received no pay increase and last year received a 1 per cent increase.

The unions submitted a claim for £1 per hour in late October 2013 and the Employers’ Side are meeting on February 13 to decide on their response.

Alison Millar, NIPSA, Deputy General Secretary, said: “Our members demand that they receive a decent pay award after 4 years of almost a zero increase in their rates of pay.

“Members in Education, Local Government, Housing and Further Education have seen the buying power of their pay stand still while the cost of housing, utility bills and food has increased to the point where many of our members are telling us they can no longer make ends meet.

“Many members are in receipt of tax credits and other benefits – so this government effectively has to subsidise their income. This cannot be right.

“We therefore call on the Employers’ Side and in particular the Northern Ireland representatives on the National Joint Council to ensure Northern Ireland workers in education, local government and housing receive a decent pay increase.”

Anne Speed, UNISON Head of Bargaining & Representation stated: “Our low paid members working in these sectors will no longer tolerate poverty pay.

She added: “A recent KPMG report on the Living Wage identified Northern Ireland as the region with the largest amount under the living wage.

“Tweny-six per cent of people in N Ireland or 197,000 earn under this amount.

“The politicians of all persuasions need to take account of this stark reality. NI reps on the NJC should stand up for the workers in this region and insist that they receive a decent pay increase.”