NI Water Supply Interruption 'Inevitable'

Union representatives have said interruptions to supplies, as well as slower responses to problems regarding NI's water network over the Christmas period will be "inevitable".

The announcement comes as hundreds of NI Water staff prepare to stage industrial action over a long running pensions dispute.

Earlier this week, members of NIPSA, Unite and the GMB unions voted to go ahead with 'work-to-rule', and the withdrawal of overtime and on-call services. Talks were then held with Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy on Wednesday, but it has now emerged that the unions rejected what they said was "minor concessions" given forward by NI Water's management.

As a result, industrial action will now go ahead from Monday (22 December).

Ryan McKinney, Assistant Secretary, NIPSA, is quoted as saying: "Northern Ireland Water have 2,700 treatment works and pumping stations, so it's inevitable that there will be a supply interruption as a consequence of there being no on-call facility, no voluntary overtime and no emergency service provided.

"From Christmas Eve, there won't be staff available during the day – that service would have been provided through voluntary overtime, but those people won't be volunteering so there will be a much slower response to any faults or supply interruption."

In a statement from NI Water, the firm said: "We fully recognise the rights of employees to consider industrial action but regrets such action has been called at this time.

"NI Water remains committed to trying to resolve the issues at hand and continues to offer ongoing engagement with TU colleagues. We can assure the public, however, that the provision of safe, clean drinking water and wastewater services remains a priority for the company and its staff who will continue to work to mitigate any potential impact on customers."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

13 August 2019
NIAS Operating With Reduced Crews
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service operated with major staff shortages for a fourth consecutive night on Monday 12 August. Ambulance crews were revealed to have been down 20 crews over the weekend, roughly a quarter of its normal workforce, while operations continued last night with around 12 crews less than normal.
19 September 2001
Water Service moves to prevent cryptosporidium contamination
DRD Water Service has made substantial progress in implementing a series of recommendations designed to prevent a repeat outbreak of cryptosporidium in the public water supply. The measures were outlined in a recently published report into the cryptosporidium contamination that occurred at Dunore Point water supply earlier this year.
04 February 2005
SF and DUP back Water Service staff strike
Sinn Fein and the DUP have lent their weight to plans by Water Service staff to go on strike next Wednesday over proposals to reform the service in Northern Ireland.
29 May 2003
Water charges will enable £300m investment in services
When fully introduced, water charges will enable the Government to invest over £300 million more in public services every year. This was the message from Parliamentary Under Secretary of State Angela Smith who was speaking following yesterday's meeting between union members and Prime Minister Tony Blair in Downing Street.
02 November 2010
Builders 'Need Water Charges', Says RICS
A leading construction professional has reacted positively to this week's DUP policy document on dealing with Northern Ireland's financial crisis. However, he also disagreed with the First Minister, Peter Robinson's opposition to water charges.