Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland public workers vote to strike over low pay rates

By Claire Williamson

School support and council staff in Northern Ireland are to take part in a UK-wide strike action in a dispute over pay.

Yesterday 58% voted for industrial action in a ballot.

Unison says the low paid, mainly female workers have faced a three-year pay freeze and are protesting against the offer of a 1% pay rise.

The lowest are paid just above the statutory national minimum wage.

Unison said its members will demonstrate for 24 hours on July 10 and other unions are set to announce a similar move in the coming week.

It is anticipated there will be action at the headquarters of the education and library boards on that day.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "These workers care for our elderly, clean our streets, feed and educate our school children and keep our libraries running, but they receive no recognition in their pay packets.

"They are mainly low paid women workers, stressed and demoralised, and they deserve better from their employers."

Unison regional organiser Brian Ferguson said: "This decision for industrial action will affect our members in school support services.

"In the meantime, we call on the employers to get back into talks to agree a fair deal for local government and school support workers."

HM Revenue and Customs staff are also understood to be staging a walkout this week, including in Northern Ireland on Thursday.

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