Belfast Telegraph

Belfast cash-in-transit workers ready to strike over their ‘workload and overtime’

By John Mulgrew

Workers at a cash-in-transit business in Belfast say they will strike next week. Union members working for RMS Group Services have said they will take industrial action for a week, starting on August 9.

It’s understood RMS employs around 200 staff in Northern Ireland and the Republic, with the majority of those based in Belfast.

But it is believed only around a sixth of workers at the company will potentially be involved in the action, which is being taken by the Services, Industrial, Professional and Technical Union (SIPTU).

SIPTU organiser Niall McNally said: “Union members voted by over 90% to take strike action due to the company’s intransigence in dealing with their concerns over workload, overtime rates and their right to have a recognised union.

“The company has failed to show any collective effort to address the concerns of the workforce over the last five months.

“Despite repeated attempts, management has failed to engage with SIPTU representatives. The attitude displayed towards their union by their employer has deeply angered our members.”

A spokeswoman for RMS Group Services said it was “disappointed by the announcement of strike action by SIPTU members” this month.

“This strike action will inconvenience our customers and will have a negative impact upon RMS Group Services job creation ambitions,” she said.

“RMS Group Services will do everything it can to minimise disruption and wishes to reassure its customers that rigorous contingency planning is in place which will limit the impact of the strike action.”

The announcement comes as the latest figures show Northern Ireland workers had the highest rate of days off due to strike action in the UK.

Overall, the number of workers who took strike action last year reached a record low, official figures show.

But Northern Ireland had the highest rate of days lost at 21 per 1,000 employees, followed by London at 15, while the North East, Yorkshire and the Humber, the East Midlands, the West Midlands and the East all had rates of one day.

ONS labour market statistician Nick Palmer said: “The main reason that 2014 had a higher figure than last year was that it saw a number of large scale public sector strikes that were not repeated in 2015. In all, 81,000 workers went on strike in 2015, the lowest figure since records began in 1893.”

Belfast Telegraph Digital