NI Water workers’ victory

Donal O’Cofaigh, Fermanagh Socialist Party

Despite efforts by Stormont politicians and many in the Northern Ireland media to vilify them, striking NI Water workers have won significant concessions from management, leading to a suspension of their action on Tuesday 20 January, pending a ballot on the new offer.

The ‘work-to-rule’ action – with workers refusing any overtime and sticking strictly to their contractual obligations – started on 23 December. Management were trying to force workers to pay dramatically higher pension contributions – effectively a pay cut – from April this year.

The attacks on NI Water workers are aimed at paving the way for all-out privatisation of the service and, therefore, the introduction of water charges.

This victory is another example of the power of workers to resist and defeat attacks from the bosses when they stand united.

Public sector strike

The NIPSA Northern Ireland public sector union is balloting for action over an imposed pay settlement and job cuts. If members vote yes, a public sector general strike could take place on 13 March.