Northern Ireland Water (NI Water) “remains on high alert” with a major incident regime in place as the industrial action undertaken by trade unions continues.

The “indefinite” industrial action was started by more than 1,000 members of NI Water staff on 22 December due to a dispute over pensions. Members of the GMB, NIPSA and Unite trade unions withdrew from working any overtime and have refused to provide on-call services.

A major incident team was established over the holiday period to deal with emergencies which present a risk to public health of vulnerable customers, and “will remain in place as long as required”.

Twice daily meetings of the NI Water Management Team have also taken place each day since the industrial action began.

NI Water added that due to the industrial action “it is virtually inevitable there will be interruptions to services” because the resources available to the company “remain very limited”.

Before Christmas, NI Water chief executive Sara Venning warned the industrial action will “cause distress and potential hardship to the public”.

NI Water “continues to engage” with the trade unions in an effort to find a way of reaching an agreed settlement to this dispute.