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Water dispute ends with pay deal

An industrial dispute between staff and management at Northern Ireland Water has ended.

The union Unite claimed a two-year pay offer, agreed in January, has been signed off.

Joanne McWilliams, Unite's industrial officer, said: "Worker representatives in the water group of trade unions agreed to suspend their strike action following an offer made by NI Water management at the end of January. In the last weeks, that offer was finally signed off by the Finance Minister.

"The deal has been endorsed by a large majority of members across all unions. The two-year agreement provides pay increases backdated to August 2014 which will more than cover the additional costs associated with pension reform."

At the peak of the dispute, up to 9,000 properties across Northern Ireland were left without water when staff refused to work overtime or do out-of-hours repairs.

The row centred on NI Water's bid to roll out public sector pension reforms already implemented in other state organisations.

Around half of the 1,260 workforce were engaged in the industrial action and Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy had to step in to resolve the crisis.

In a statement, NI Water said: "NI Water can confirm unions have agreed to formally end the industrial dispute following a ballot of their members."

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