Londonderry 'plumbing' firms close to resolution on workers

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Workers walking along wire fence
Image caption,
McGurk and Moore told the workers to turn up at Omega's offices on Monday

Unions in Londonderry have said they are close to resolving an ongoing dispute between the former workers of a maintenance firm and a rival company.

The 29 men and women were left in employment limbo last week when a contract held by McGurk & Moore was won by rival firm Omega.

McGurk & Moore had argued that Omega should assume responsibility for the workers after it won the plumbing contract, but Omega disputed this.

Liam Gallagher from Derry Trades Council, union officials and representatives from the two companies met for talks again on Thursday.

Mr Gallagher said that the trades council and union were "satisfied" with the progress being made.

"There are still a number of transfer details to be worked out around salaries and other matters," he said.

"Our expectation is that by early next week we will have all or the majority of these workers employed by Omega."

On 1 October, the workers were told by McGurk and Moore that the company had lost its contract with the North and West Housing Association to Omega Mechanical Services.

The firm said it could no longer afford to employ the workers and told them that under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) Omega was now responsible for their employment.

Tupe legislation safeguards an employee's original contract when a business is sold from one company to another.

Employees of the business which has been transferred automatically become employees of the purchaser under the same terms and conditions.