I wish to update members following the Civil Service Group Executive Committee who met earlier today.
As all political parties have acknowledged during the 3 years of the suspension of the NI Assembly civil servants stepped into the breach and continued to deliver vital public services and take decisions in the absence of politicians. It is now time for civil servants to be financially rewarded with an above inflation pay increase and a move towards pay restoration to make up for the past 10 years of meagre or no pay increases.
Meeting with Minister
As previously advised NIPSA met with the Minister on 22 January and set out our case for our pay claim. While the meeting was positive to date there has been no money put on the table to resolve the current dispute. NIPSA has also written to all political parties seeking to meet with them to set out our position and seek their support for a decent pay increase. You can also play your part by raising the issue with your own MLAs by writing or seeking a meeting with them to outline the real impact that the meagre pay increases have had on your own lives. It is important that MLAs hear directly from you and your colleagues which is a powerful message which they need to take seriously and seek to resolve. Together we can make a difference.
Meeting with Management Side
I can advise that a number of meetings have been scheduled with Management Side throughout the month of February and NIPSA wish to get engaged in urgent and meaningful negotiations to seek to resolve the dispute. It is now up to the Finance Minister to set a remit for the Management Side to commence those negotiations. The Finance Minister did indicate that he wished to resolve the dispute and would not drag his heels on this matter. We hope that those commitments are now followed up urgently.
Selective Action is commencing on Monday 3 February 2020 in certain areas of the Court Service. Court Clerks and Assistant Court Clerks in Laganside, Antrim, Ballymena and Coleraine Courts will be on strike on Monday 3 February 2020. On Friday 7 February the same group of members in Newry and Craigavon will be on strike. Further dates will be announced next week. I am sure you will wish to thank these members for taking this brave stand in furtherance of the dispute on behalf of the wider membership.
As members were previously advised the Judicial Review arising out of the lack of consultation on the Staff Officer and Deputy Principal competitions will be heard on 19 March 2020. Work is ongoing by NIPSA’s legal team to take this case forward.
Agency Workers’ Pay
The Management Side continue to advise that those Agency Workers entitled to incremental progression and arrears will receive their uplift and arrears of pay before the end of the financial year. This shows the benefit of NIPSA membership for Agency Workers many of whom it is hoped will have the opportunity to get a permanent job through the recent Administrative Officer competition. A permanent job, with the full range of terms, conditions and pension is what NIPSA wish to achieve for all workers in the NICS.
NICS People Survey – 2019
The 2019 NICS People Survey was published today. The Pay and Benefits section demonstrates clearly the case for an above inflation pay increase and pay restoration with overall only 30% of staff feeling that their pay adequately reflects their performance; 35% being satisfied with their total benefits package and 25% feel their pay is reasonable compared to people doing a similar job in other organisations. NIPSA will be highlighting these figures at all opportunities during the negotiations and with political representatives and as members you should also take the opportunity to raise this with your senior management and political representatives.
Further articles will be issued in due course.