IMPACT has served notice of two one-day strikes – on Tuesday 24th June and Thursday 26th June – in South Dublin County Council. In an escalation of the two-week old dispute over management’s unilateral imposition of pay cuts, the union’s members have also withdrawn phone cover between 12 noon and 2.30pm each day and have further restricted phone cover in County hall, the Clondalkin civic office, libraries and depots.
Last month 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.
For the past two weeks limited industrial has included a refusal to staff public counters between 12.30pm and 2.30pm, the withdrawal of cooperation with evening meetings, an overtime ban, and a refusal to carry out duties at a higher grade.
IMPACT official Peter Nolan said the industrial action was being escalated because of management’s continued refusal to deal with the situation through proper procedures. He said staff had received huge support from councillors when they protested at the first council meeting last week.
“IMPACT has repeatedly told management it is willing to deal with the issue through established procedures and we just want a fair process to do this. Council staff have already experienced substantial pay cuts – averaging 14% – imposed on them in 2009 and 2010. Some of them – those earning over €65,000 a year – experienced a further pay cut in 2013. This is on top of the increased taxes and charges experienced by workers across the economy,” he said.
The union says staff in the council have cooperated with far-reaching productivity measures in recent years, including increased working time, reduced sickness leave, changes to annual leave, and cooperation with many other reform measures – as well as maintaining the range and quality of services despite a 25% cut in staff numbers since 2008.