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UK News

Church litter pickers 'undermining' industrial action in the midst of strikes

by Alex Collett

A leading trade union has said volunteer Church litter collectors are 'undermining' strike action. 

In Northern Ireland, bin workers in Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon council area have begun four weeks of industrial action over pay and conditions from the 15th August 2022.

Trade unions GMB, Nipsa and Unite are all involved in the strike action.

However Church and community group litter picks across the Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough have been getting involved with cleaning up the streets.

Speaking to the BBC, GMB's Alan Perry said he agreed that community intervention was unhelpful to their cause but admitted "all communities will do what they can to assist and obviously make their area look clean and tidy."

Mr Perry, who said talks between unions and senior council management will resume on Friday 2nd September 2022, said there were council employees to do this work if "an acceptable offer" was made available.

Sinn Féin councillor Bróna Haughey told the BBC that the actions of the church led groups simply showed how much they cared for the city: "We would promote litter picking outside of a strike situation and our party would carry out litter picks 12 months a year.

"I am sure the church groups just wanted to do something for the community and clean it up, I am sure they didn't think that it would have an impact on the strikes or maybe think about what way the unions would have took it on."

DUP Councillor, Mark Baxter said the Emmanuel Church, who carried out a litter pick in Lurgan, should be commended for their efforts.

"Over the last three weeks, with the lack of cleansing, [our town centres] are just in a dire state. 

"The streets are really bad; people are stockpiling waste in their homes which has huge health and safety implications.

"I pay tribute, particularly Emmanuel Church in Lurgan, who got together and cleaned the place up, and made a really good job of it,  they have to be commended.

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