NIPSA Announces a Full Day Strike on 26 July 2019

Further to the article Staff Officer/Deputy Principal Competition posted on dated 24 June 2019 I can confirm the result of the Industrial Action Ballot as follows: 

Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?

Number of ballot papers returned 5,937
Number of ballot papers found to be invalid 114
Total number of ballot papers to be counted 5823
Number voting Yes
3,991 (68.5%)
Number voting No 1,832 (31.5%)

Are you prepared to take part in industrial action short of a strike?

Number of ballot papers returned 5,937
Number of ballot papers found to be invalid 98
Total number of ballot papers to be counted 5839
Number voting Yes
5,018 (85.9%)
Number voting No 821 (14.1%)

Pay

It is clear that members have sent a strong message that they are not prepared to accept a below inflation pay increase for 2018/19 and demand that the pay negotiations are reopened to ensure that civil servants receive an above inflation increase. This is a reasonable demand and is what other public servants have received this year. Health Service employees received up to 3% increase, Local Government employees received at least 2% increase, Audit Office staff received between 2.4 and 4%. These are just examples of the increases paid to other public servants and NIPSA demand no less for hard working civil servants who have held the civil service together and delivered for the public in the absence of an Assembly. It is time that members received what they are rightfully due.

NIPSA does not accept the argument “There is no money”. On a number of occasions money has been made available. Most recently £700m was found to make civil servants redundant – yet 3 years later the civil service now need to recruit staff. This does not make economic sense. As members will recall the money to make civil servants redundant was part of the Reinvestment and Reform monies – which have to be repaid. This was not free money. NIPSA members have spoken with nearly 70% saying they would be prepared to take part in strike action to see an increase in their pay and nearly 86% support action short of strike action.

Terms and Conditions

Members have also delivered a strong and resounding rejection of attempts to undermine civil servants’ terms and conditions of employment. The anger amongst members on issues regarding externalisation of promotion, delegation of more work to line managers, potential threats to how mileage is calculated and other terms and conditions is real and this result gives NIPSA a stronger mandate to defend your terms and conditions.

Judicial Review

The latest update is that papers will be lodged in the Courts this week on the externalisation of the current Staff Officer and Deputy Principal competition. Members should be aware that this is a key issue of a total lack of consultation with NIPSA. It is also the intention of the Management Side that externalisation of all promotion should be the norm. It is a significant change to the NICS Staff Handbook and has been introduced without consultation and negotiation with NIPSA. Other elements of the recruitment/promotion process are being examined, particularly the issue of testing which NIPSA believe is potentially discriminatory.

Next Steps

NIPSA’s Civil Service Executive Committee considered the ballot earlier today and are now calling on all members to support the industrial action with a full day strike on Friday 26 July 2019. NIPSA will also be giving notice that Action Short of Strike Action will commence on Monday 29 July 2019. Details of the Action Short of Strike Action will follow. Further information regarding 26 July will be issued over the coming days.

The Civil Service Executive Committee have made it clear that the 26 July will be the first of a series of various initiatives which will include further strike day(s) and other actions. The Executive Committee want to also reassure members that there is a detailed plan which will involve rolling action, potential selective action, half and one day strikes and action short of strike action. In order to consider further the detail of the next part of the campaign to defend pay, terms and conditions the Civil Service Executive Committee have agreed to meet again on Friday 2 August 2019 to detail and finalise the next steps.

The Civil Service Executive Committee is resolute that members have given a strong mandate to ensure that they are no longer trampled on.

Engagement with Political Parties

NIPSA has written to all political parties seeking that they intervene and ensure that the pay negotiations for 2018/19 are re-opened and issues regarding terms and conditions are resolved. It is not acceptable that the NICS Board and Senior Management in the NICS can seek to sideline NIPSA. Members have backed our call for a show of unity and strength and demand that we ensure that our members are treated fairly and reasonably. Detailed briefings for political parties are being developed to outline in detail the arguments regarding each of the key issues including pay, delegation of responsibility to line managers, externalisation of promotion and other terms and conditions issues.

Strength and Solidarity

All Branches and members are now asked to start preparation for the industrial action campaign. We must turn the decisive votes of members into massive displays of strength and solidarity for the opening one day strike on 26 July 2019 and for all the industrial action that will take place, if necessary, over the coming months. We must leave the Civil Service Management in no doubt about the anger of staff and our determination to secure a fair and just outcome of members in relation to their pay, terms and conditions.

Social Media

Further information is available via:

Facebook Campaign Page. NIPSA: Fair Play for Civil Servants

Twitter @nipsa

Alison Millar
General Secretary