Hundreds protest at South Dublin County Council

Around 400 people joined a demonstration over unilaterally-imposed pay cuts at South Dublin County Council this afternoon (Tuesday). The demonstration, which was organised by IMPACT trade union to coincide with the council’s twentieth anniversary, attracted support from the public and other council unions.

IMPACT members carried banners saying: ‘Celebrating 20 years with a pay cut,’ and ’20 years of service: Staff deserve better.’

IMPACT national secretary Peter Nolan said the huge turnout demonstrated the strength of feeling among council staff. “163 people have been earmarked for pay cuts, but hundreds turned out to express their disgust at the council’s actions and its refusal to use proper, fair procedures to deal with this issue. The support from the public was unprecedented and really encouraging for the staff,” he said.

IMPACT has been involved in industrial action at the council for three weeks and last week served notice of two one-day strikes – on Tuesday 24th June and Thursday 26th June. The union’s members have already withdrawn phone cover between 12 noon and 2.30pm each day and have further restricted phone cover in County hall, the Clondalkin civic office, libraries and depots. They have also withdrawn from staffing public counters between 12.30pm and 2.30pm, stopped cooperation with evening meetings, imposed an overtime ban, and refused to carry out duties at a higher grade.

The dispute was triggered last month when council management cut the pay of 13 of its staff and revealed plans to do the same to another 150 workers. The staff earmarked for further pay cuts have been carrying out extra work with additional responsibilities – some of them for as long as 12 years. Now the council says they must continue to do this work, but it is taking away the extra payment – called an ‘acting payment’ – that goes with it.

Mr Nolan said the council’s twentieth birthday had been marred by management’s actions. “Council staff have given excellent service to the people of south Dublin for 20 years. Management has chosen to mark that commitment by imposing additional pay cuts on staff, in breach of the Haddington Road agreement,” he said.