Ulster Unionist Peer, Lord Empey has expressed concern that the announcement of strike action at the Electoral Office will have an effect on the EU Referendum Poll on 23 June.
Lord Empey said:
“I have been warning for months about the deteriorating situation at the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland, and the announcement of two days of strike action, following a ballot of staff, is further proof that the matter is out of control.
“As we approach the EU referendum on June 23, when the workload at the Electoral Office is at a very high level, any disruption to the service will have a detrimental effect on the democratic process.
“I have said before that it is always necessary for Government to look at the operation of any public body to see if efficiencies and savings can be achieved, but the manner in which this has been done at the Electoral Office is going to end up costing more than any possible saving! Furthermore, staff at an organisation that has served the public well for many difficult years feels themselves put into a corner and forced into industrial action. This indicates that management and Government are getting things badly wrong.
“A new Corporate Plan has just been published and a consultation is about to start, but if the main infrastructure of the Electoral Office, represented by its province wide footprint via its various regional offices is to be dismantled, then its effectiveness is already damaged before the consultation starts.
“What we are seeing is a back to front process where the purpose of a genuine consultation is compromised before it starts, with a programme of office closures.
“'I sincerely hope that the Government will start to listen and not pursue a reckless and damaging process for the sake of a tiny sum of public money.”