Northern Ireland

NI Water dispute: More than 1,600 homes without supply

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Media captionGeorge Butler from NI Water who said the situation was likely to get worse for customers over the weekend.

NI Water has said that up to 1,600 properties are now without water supplies in counties Tyrone and Fermanagh.

About 400 properties served by the Lough Bradan water treatment works and Allyhill service reservoir lost their supply on Saturday evening.

About 1,200 properties in the Loughmacrory area are also affected.

Industrial action by NI Water staff means that normal out-of-hours repairs are not being carried out.

NI Water spoke to unions on Saturday to see if staff would work until the situation was resolved but unions refused. NI Water predicts the situation will get worse on Sunday.

Areas that may be affected by the water disruption include: Carrickmore, Dungannon (Sultan Road), Glenhull, Greencastle, Loughmacrory, Mountfield, Omagh (Camcosy Road, Gorticashel Road, Cairn Road, Cloghan Road, Fernagh Road, Green Road, Striff Lane), Pomeroy (Camlough Road and Loughmallon Road) and Sixmilecross, Castlederg, Drumquin, Ederney (Drumcullion Road), Kesh, Killen (Scraghy Road) and Lack.

George Butler from NI Water described it as a "deteriorating situation".

"The industrial action means that the unions only allow their staff to work between eight and four during the week, so outside of those hours, we don't have cover for the water treatment works or the distribution works and that's what's causing the problem," he said.

Nipsa, Unite and GMB members voted last month for a work-to-rule and withdrawal of on-call services and overtime in a row over pensions.

NI Water said it remained "committed to continued engagement" with trade unions in an effort to resolve the dispute.

The company stressed that the key demand that pension reform be delayed was not "within its gift to provide" and said dialogue rather than causing disruption represented the best way forward.

Last weekend, about 10,000 customers in counties Fermanagh and Tyrone were left without water after a pump at a treatment plant in Enniskillen broke down.

On Friday, NI Water warned that disruption to supplies this weekend could be even worse.

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