Northern Ireland

NI Water: Talks aim to resolve pensions dispute

tap pouring water
Image caption NI Water staff will continue to provide emergency cover but will withdraw on-call, standby and overtime services

Last-minute attempts to resolve a dispute at NI Water before the Christmas holiday period are being made.

The Labour Relations Agency has been called in to try to broker an 11th-hour resolution to the row over pensions.

It resulted in an indefinite 'work to rule' beginning on Monday.

The negotiations are aimed at ensuring full cover is in place for faults during the period covering Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Hundreds of NI Water workers are taking part in the industrial action.

Last week, talks between unions and management from NI Water failed to reach agreement.

Members of Nipsa, Unite and the GMB voted for a work-to-rule and withdrawal of on-call services and overtime, from Monday.

Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy has warned this could cause "abject misery" to households.

Joanne McWilliams, from Unite, said all three unions were prepared to continue with further talks.

"We have set out our position to both the minister and NI Water, but unless the pension proposals are taken off the table, our members have no alternative but to commence action," she said.

NI Water's chief executive Sara Venning warned customers they may experience interruptions to supply over Christmas because of the industrial action.

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