Newry trade union strike enjoys large turnout

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Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Newry Mayor, Charlie Casey at protests outside of Newry City Hall.

A public strike today in Newry City centre has been likened to the 1979 “Winter of Discontent” according to trade union leaders, as people protest changes in pensions. Approximately 2 million people are joining those in Newry with protests taking place throughout the UK. The effect of these protests has been felt throughout the country with workers from schools, hospitals and public transport taking to the picket lines. Translink have also said that public transport has been brought to a stand still throughout Northern Ireland. But why are people striking? The government wants workers in the public sector to:
  • Pay more into their pensions
  • Increase the retirement age, meaning people will have to work longer.
  • Rather than sticking to a final salary arrangement which many workers agreed to, some are being told to accept a career average salary.
  • As people are living longer, the government say the cost of funding public sector pensions is “unsustainable”.
  • People are paying more, working longer and for less say Unions.
The Newry rally was one of a series of lunchtime protests being held throughout Northern Ireland, with others taking place in Belfast, Derry, Downpatrick, Omagh, Ballymena, Portadown, Magherafelt and Cookstown. Jimmy Kelly, regional organiser of the Unite union, said, “We have been brought to a situation where our members across health, education, local government, transport are really declaring that enough is enough. This time next year it will be too late trying to put things back together again.” In Pictures: Public sector strikes in Newry          
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