Water shortages likely as strike action in June by council workers
Two-day strike on June 7th and 8th by Louth County Council water staff.
Water shortages and boil water notices could be the likely consequences of a planned strike facing Louth County Council.
The local authority will be one of 30 hit by a two day strike in June after SIPTU has served notice of strike action by water workers.
SIPTU representatives have confirmed they have served notice of strike and industrial action on 30 local authorities around the country.
“We have taken the difficult step of serving notice on the local authorities. There will be a two-day strike on June 7th and 8th, followed immediately by a series of industrial actions,” said Stephen Kelly, water worker and chair of the SIPTU national negotiating committee. “It is unfortunate that it has come to this, but water workers have to ensure that they will not be at a financial loss should they choose to remain with their local authorities. While we have been given commitments in relation to regular/rostered overtime, there is no such confirmation on allowances”.
Karan O Loughlin, SIPTU Divisional Organiser for the Public Administration and Community Division (PACD) called it ‘a very challenging situation for our members’.
"Their level of commitment to the communities that they serve is very strong and this decision has not been taken lightly. Once the dispute commences, it is likely that there will be water shortages and boil water notices as the ongoing quality of water cannot not be monitored in the normal way,” she added.
“It has been a difficult choice for water workers but the frustrations and tensions on the ground are very high. The Minister for Housing, Darragh O Brien, has made public statements about the preservation of terms and conditions of water workers remaining with their local authority and the Government now needs to live up to these commitments. It is very unfair that our members have to go on strike to deliver what has already been promised to them but strike they will until this matter is resolved. The dispute will start with a two-day stoppage, followed by rolling industrial actions and more strike days cannot be ruled out.”
Brendan O Brien, SIPTU Sector Organiser for the union’s Local Authority sector added: “Our members were given commitments by the Minister and those commitments were written into the Framework for the Future Delivery of Water Services. It has now become a matter of interpretation, with the management side taking the narrowest possible view of what the retention of terms and conditions means, thus creating a significant financial loss for water workers. It is unacceptable that any interpretation would diminish the very terms the document is seeking to protect”