Northern Ireland

Strikes: Thousands of Northern Ireland public sector workers take action

Nipsa members demonstrated on the streets of Londonderry
Image caption Nipsa members protested on the streets of Londonderry

Thousands of public sector workers in Northern Ireland have been taking strike action in protest at a range of issues including pay and pensions.

Staff at libraries, leisure centres, housing executive offices and other council-run premises were among those taking part.

Bin collections were also affected.

Members of Nipsa, Unite, the GMB, Unison, Siptu and the PCS joined trade unions in England and Wales in the strike action.

Image caption A number of council-run premises will be closed due to the strike

Unions said one of the things they were protesting about was a pay offer they claim was worth only 1%.

Patricia McKeown of Unison said: "It's essentially local government, education library and boards, Housing Executive, who are out today. It is not yet health and social care.

"The people we represent are predominantly low-paid. Three of the lowest pay bands are outside the living wage, some people are barely above the living age.

"And isn't it a terrible shock to find out that these days in Northern Ireland there are more people in work on welfare benefits than there are out of work on welfare benefits?

"That's our members."

Jimmy Kelly of Unite said: "Our members don't do glamorous jobs, they're the ones lifting your bins from outside your door.

"It's a job that has to be done, but they have to be paid decent wages.

"We've tried all the usual talking and meetings, trying to achieve an extra pound an hour for our members. The talking just doesn't get you anywhere."

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