NIPSA members in the Northern Ireland Civil Service are set to strike on Thursday 3 October 2019 in relation to changes to terms and conditions of employment which have been implemented without proper and meaningful consultation and the imposition of a 1.25% pay deal for 2018/19.
Alison Millar, NIPSA General Secretary stated:
“NIPSA members across the Northern Ireland Civil Service will be on strike tomorrow, 3 October. The dispute centres on the imposition of a below inflation pay deal and attacks on terms and conditions of employment.
Our members have clearly demonstrated their anger and are resolute in seeking to ensure that the employer re-opens the pay negotiations for 2018/19 and properly negotiates with NIPSA on both the issue of pay and other terms and conditions. NIPSA has taken the unprecedented decision to lodge a Judicial Review on the lack of consultation on terms and conditions issues regarding promotion opportunities within the NICS and that hearing will take place on 29 November 2019. NIPSA members are clear in seeking to defend their pay, terms and conditions. They are saying loud and clear – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
NIPSA would call on the NICS Board to engage with NIPSA to seek a resolution of this dispute. As part of NIPSA’s industrial action strategy members have disengaged in the Emergency Brexit Planning. This decision was taken by members because of how they have been disrespected in relation to terms and conditions of employment and pay for a number of years. This dispute can be resolved – however it will take a significant move from the NICS Board to do so. NIPSA is open to resolving this dispute – however since our industrial action has commenced the silence has been deafening from the employers.”
On behalf of NIPSA’s Civil Service Executive Committee I want to put on record thanks for all the work put into today’s strike action. The campaign goes on and each and every NIPSA Representative will have a key role to play in motivating members for further action and engagement in pursuit of both a decent pay increase and attacks on terms and conditions of employment.
We are making some small steps forward in the campaign and it is important that we keep up the pressure on management to ensure that we can secure a just and fair outcome for every NIPSA member.
Keep up the good work.
The Civil Service Executive Committee has given consideration to the content of the NICS Pay Claim for 2019-20. This is against the backdrop of the imposed/disputed pay imposition for 2018-19 of 1.25%. Members are also aware as part of the current industrial action on pay, terms and conditions NIPSA is demanding the re-opening of the 2018-19 pay negotiations.
The Civil Service Executive Committee now wish to consult on the key elements of the 2019-20 pay claim as follows:
An above inflation pay increase on both pay and allowances
- Pay restoration to address pay loss since 2010 and
- Further scale shortening for all scales from AA to Grade 6
The Civil Service Executive Committee believe we must seek a substantial above inflation increase in rates of pay and seek an additional amount to address the loss of pay since 2010 (i.e. pay restoration).
Projected rates of inflation for 2019-20 are circa 2%, however with Brexit looming it is unclear what this would mean for the UK economy as a whole and more importantly for Northern Ireland.
Members continue to report that they are continuing to struggle to make ends meet with the rising costs of household bills including gas, electricity, rent, mortgages and rates increasing at a much higher rate than a 1.25% pay increase.
With Brexit (with or without a deal) appearing to be forced through the implications of this will be grave for all workers and the potential impact on the economy.
Members at all levels deserve a decent pay increase – which is fair. It is not fair (as Department of Finance put out in the media) that some members have to:
- Rely on family and friends
- Rely on pay day loans and credit cards
to make ends meet and cannot afford family ‘treats’ such as a trip over the summer or a summer holiday.
It is clear we must continue with the message that “I am worth it”. Members do not believe they are valued and this was demonstrated in the last staff survey. The Civil Service Group Executive Committee are giving a clear message that our members are worth a decent pay increase and we will continue the fight to ensure that this is delivered. No longer can our members have meagre pay increases imposed – they all deserve much more. The Civil Service Executive Committee are committed to engaging not just on the pay claim but on a strategy to drive home a decent increase for all members.
Since 2010 members have received either a zero % increase or a below inflation increase. This year’s pay claim strives to address the pay losses members have borne over the last 9 years.
When the Tory Prime Minister (Theresa May) said at the Tory Party Conference in September 2018 that austerity was over – well austerity is not over for NI Civil Servants. In the last two weeks Theresa May’s last statement concluded there would be more money for public servants including police, soldiers, teachers and other school staff and senior civil servants. No mention for civil servants other than SCS. This does not bode well for civil servants in Great Britain or the NI Civil Service. Again it appears that it is believed civil servants are not worth a decent pay increase.
Public Sector Pay Policy
Last year the Department of Finance, Permanent Secretary, Sue Gray set the NI Public Sector Pay Policy without any consultation with NIPSA or the wider Trade Union Movement. NIC-ICTU have requested a meeting with Ms Gray and that meeting will take place in early September.
NIPSA’s Civil Service Executive Committee are committed to continue the campaign including the ongoing industrial action strategy to seek to deliver a real and meaningful increase for all civil servants. The 2019-20 claim will be supported by members engaging in the industrial action in support of your pay, terms and conditions.
In order to ensure that all members and branches have the opportunity to respond to the consultation and in recognition that we are in the summer period the consultation will run until 2 pm on 6 September 2019. The Civil Service Executive Committee will meet on Monday 9 September 2019 to consider the consultation responses. Please now make arrangements for your branch consultation meeting.
As members are aware NIPSA lodged a Judicial Review on the lack of consultation on the SO/DP Competition and the breach of the Central Whitley Constitution and the NICS Staff Handbook. Our lawyers have now advised that the JR Judge has granted leave for the JR on the basis of the papers without the requirement for a hearing. The proposed listing will be in October 2019 with a preliminary hearing listing on 6 September 2019.
Action Short of Strike Action: NIPSA has become aware that in at least some Departments they are seeking volunteers at SO and DP level who would participate in familiarisation sessions with the new SO/DP recruits.
This is a further insult to members. In line with our action short of strike action commencing on 29 July 2019 NIPSA would advise members that they should NOT volunteer for these familiarisation sessions.
- Over the last 10 years your pay has been eroded by between 15% and 20%;
- Your promotion opportunities have been cut by the externalisation of the SO and DP competition and there is more of the same to come;
- Many civil servants now rely on second jobs and working tax credits to make ends meet;
- The majority of civil servants earn below the NI average wage and 66% earn less than the UK average wage;
- You are being asked to take on more line management responsibility for sick absence management, grievance and discipline.
If we don’t fight back now it will become even worse
Of course, civil servants like other workers cannot afford to strike but the money lost in a strike day is nothing compared to what we will all lose if we don’t make a stand now.
No one wants to be on strike but every worker who crosses a picket line weakens our action and strengthens the employer for further attacks on our terms and conditions.
Remember NIPSA members voted by 68.5% for strike action. We would ask you to recognise the democratic mandate.
Click the link below to download pdf to print or share or share this link Join the Action leaflet
- Civil Servants, like other workers, have been affected by austerity and have suffered wage cuts of between 15% and 20% over the last decade;
- The majority of Civil Servants now earn below the NI average wage and rely on second jobs and tax credits just to make ends meet;
- Things are so bad that management had to take special measures just to ensure the lowest paid civil servants stay above the legal minimum wage;
- More money in workers’ pockets means more money in our community.
- Civil service workers have decided that enough is enough and have voted by 68.5% to take action.
Click the link below to download pdf to print or share or share this link Civil Servants are Just Like You Leaflet