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Staff man pickets amid strike

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A wave of public workers went on strike across the Province yesterday as part of a UK-wide dispute.

Those taking part in the action included traffic wardens, council staff, and more.

Although a senior trade union source could not estimate the number taking part, he said it would be in the thousands – although the Local Government Association said the impact UK-wide was minimal (see right).

As well as a large-scale meeting of trade unionists at Grosvenor House in central Belfast, there were also a number of pickets dotted across the Province.

One of those standing outside the Housing Executive in Belfast was John Morrison, a 57-year-old NIPSA representative from south Belfast, had worked there for 36 years.

He earns slightly over £20,000 per year, and last year saw a one per cent pay rise.

However he pointed out that, coming in far below inflation, this still amounts to a decrease in the value of his pay.

Salary rates at the Housing Executive start from £12,266.

“The fundamental reason is in relation to poor pay people are on – particularly in the public sector,” he said “It’s time to make a stand for a lot of our low-paid workers”.

As for the disruption caused by the strike, he said: “We can only apologise for the disruption, but we feel its necessary to maintain the services they actually get”.

The Housing Executive said disruption to its services was kept to a minimum.

David Cameron attacked the strikes, arguing they were based on ballots which saw very low turnouts.

The Conservatives are trying to change the law so a threshold of votes would have to be reached before strike action could happen.

Unions hit back at the idea, saying no Tory Cabinet member achieved a 50 per cent voting threshold in the last general election.

 

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