Published Thursday, 10 July 2014
Tens of thousands of people across the regions including civil servants, teachers, local government staff joined the picket line for one day.
Six unions were on strike in NI - NIPSA, UNISON, UNITE, GMB, SIPTU, and PCS.
They are in dispute with the government over pay, pensions and working conditions.
Unions say council staff have suffered below inflation pay rises, or wage freezes, every year since the coalition came to power.
Council services affected by the industrial action included bins and recycling, leisure centres, parks and cemeteries as well as health and environment services.
John Gonsalves, shop steward at Grove Wellbeing Centre, said: "The staff have stepped outside here today in protest from all Belfast City Councils unions for a pound an hour increase in payrise.
"We haven't had an increase in pay in three years. The cost of living has gone up, the pay has stayed the same which in effect is a paycut.
"We're standing in solidarity together to put across a positive message for the people of Belfast - for the Parks Department, for Leisure Services and for all Belfast City Council departments."
Alison Millar, Deputy General Secretary of NIPSA said that the high turnout had sent a "clear message" to local government employers to resolve the dispute.
"There are reports from across Northern Ireland that thousands of workers in Local Government, Housing Executive, Education, Libraries, Youth Justice Agency NSL Traffic Attendants and other public sector workers have joined the call for strike action.
"The message from the striking workers was strong - ignore us at your peril. The unions collectively agreed that if the employers refuse to negotiate then further strike action will take place in September."
Meanwhile, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) called on ministers and senior officials to hold genuine negotiations over the issues under dispute.
Their members include staff in jobcentres, benefit offices, passport centres, courts, immigration at ports and airports.
PCS National secretary Lynn Henderson said: "Ministers praise public servants for their hard work and dedication but at the same time they are slashing their living standards warm words do not pay the bills or put food on the table, public sector workers need a pay rise.
"Our members will not sit back and watch public services being bled by austerity cuts. We will fight for jobs, decent pay, fair pensions and for properly funded public services."
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