Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Mass lay-offs partly to blame for water crisis: union - Belfast - Northern Ireland - 28th December 2010. Picture by Matt Mackey/ - Belfast.General views from NI Waters Westland base as members of the public come to pick up bottles of water.
Alan Lewis - 28-12-2010Mr Arthur Doran with property destroyed in his home after sewage had flooded through it on boxing day at Elmwood Terrace, in Lurgan. The residents of the County Armagh housing estate have expressed anger after the sewage had flooded through their homes saying today that still no-one from NI Water had come to the Shankill estate in Lurgan despite repeated requests for help. Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd said the response had "not been good enough" and added that he would be asking "serious questions" of the company. NI Water has said it is doing as much it can to help those affected by the "unprecedented" problems. The problem at the row of houses at Elmwood Terrace was caused by overflowing drains unable to cope with the thawing ice.

Unions and professional bodies have criticised NIW over its response to the water crisis.

They have hit out at the decision to make mass redundancies in recent years, alleging this may have exacerbated the problems.

Unite union’s Eugene McGlone said: “The company has been caught out after forcing nearly 300 redundancies since 2009. This has severely tested the company's frontline capacity to deal with inclement weather conditions.”

Unions have also called for no further job cuts, but NI Water wouldn’t comment on any plans for redundancies last night.

In 2009 the Institution of Civil Engineers also predicted NIW could face major problems if it continued to let employees go.

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