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Council and union talks go on as confirmation normal services resumed on Monday

If talks continue to the end of next week there may be further industrial action within Newry, Mourne and Down

Trade unions and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council are said to be “poles apart” on an employment dispute with crucial talks extending into next week.

Members of GMB, NIPSA, and SIPTU took action from April 10 with Unite joining the work to rule from April 12.

The Local Democracy Service can clarify this week, that normal services returned at NMDDC on April 24, with affected ratepayers seeing household bins collected again for the first time in two weeks.

However, the local authority employees continue to claim NMDDC has reneged on a commitment to a partnership-based job evaluation process.

The council and the four unions held further talks with the Labour Relations Agency on Friday (April 28), though no resolution was made requiring more discussions into the month of May.

Trade unions spokesperson, Kevin Kelly said: “The talks are ongoing and will be going into next week.

“However, at this time it feels as though we are poles apart.

“Management have still failed to address the main issues of equality of terms and conditions clarity of information and recognition of previous agreements.

“There has been some movement on a timetable for discussion and an agreed mediator has been working alongside the LRA to move things forward.

“If the talks continue to the end of next week we will assess our position to decide whether further industrial action is required.

“There will be no need to ballot for this as the unions’ members have already made their intentions known, though we would provide the council with seven days notice.”

A council spokesperson added: “The current industrial action ended on Sunday 23 April 2023.

“Services returned to normal on Monday, April 24.

“Negotiations are still ongoing.

“The council has no further update at this time.”

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