People Before Profit’s Councillor O’Neill brought forward a motion at last October’s council meeting to increase wages of Northern Ireland Housing Executive workers amidst the current economic crisis.
Councillor O’Neill (PBP) proposed the motion for the rights of NIHE employees at Derry City and Strabane District Council’s October 2022 meeting. Whilst encouraging the return of the NI Housing Executive as the main social housing builder.
Housing Executive workers have taken prolonged strike action for a cost of living pay rise. Councillor O’Neill (PBP) expresses that “one in three of these workers are having to rely on food banks and many are just paid six pence above the minimum wage”.
SDLP’s Councillor Cusack said due to the pressure on workers “it’s no surprise that stress and anxiety is rife”.
NIHE management have recently increased contractor payments by 30 per cent. Meanwhile employees have been, as Councillor O’Neill states, “offered an insulting 1.75 per cent pay offer”.
Councillor O’Neill requests the Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey, to meet demands of a cost of living pay increase. She also labels the “lack of support” from large political parties as “astounding”.
Sinn Fein’s, Councillor Logue states that Sinn Fein “certainly did make the effort” to attend picket lines and “they were going to make contact with representatives of the workers”.
Alderman Devenney (DUP) stated “anything that enhances that environment and the salary of those especially in the time that we’re in…has to be very much welcomed.”
The Communities Minister was said by Councillor O’Neill (PBP) to have contacted the Housing Executive to request a “swift agreement” with unions and workers, within parameters of existing policy.
Alliance’s Councillor Ferguson expressed she’s “really concerned for these workers” that without a functioning executive they will continue to be “unrewarded”.
With unanimous support from all councillors the Mayor, Sandra Duffy, passed the motion saying, “it’s great to see”.
The full October 2022 Council meeting can be viewed on YouTube.
Holly Fleck is an Ulster University Journalism Graduate and current Journalism MA student at Ulster University. She has a passion for Health and Business reporting. Holly has previously hosted UUSU's The Student Show podcast, Ulster University events as well as contributing content to QR's The Scoop and Crosskennan Lane Animal Sanctuary.