Further to the article posted 14 January Civil Servants Will Not Be Left Behind - One Day Strike on 24 January 2020 I can confirm NIPSA has secured a meeting with the Finance Minister, Conor Murphy on Wednesday 22 January 2020.
This will be an important meeting and members can be assured that NIPSA will take the opportunity to put a strong case to the Minister before he takes any decisions on the pay negotiating remit he will give to his civil servants on 2019-20 pay.
Members should also be aware a pay negotiating meeting is scheduled to take place the following day - Thursday 23 January 2020.
As members will be aware the Assembly has been restored and the "New Decade, New Approach" document has been published. It is with great dismay that NIPSA members in the NICS and the Arms Length Bodies, who have been involved in industrial action since July 2019, were not mentioned in the document yet, the industrial disputes by health workers and teachers were front and centre in that very same document.
NIPSA has made representations to the newly appointed Finance Minister, Conor Murphy seeking an urgent meeting to ensure that Civil Servants are not left behind. In fact the political parties are well aware that Civil Servants have been in dispute because of 10 years of pay cuts and attacks on their terms and conditions of employment. Today NIPSA has been advised that the Finance Minister will meet with NIPSA in the coming days and this is of course welcome. Members can be assured that we will make it clear to the Minister what it will take to resolve the dispute including the issue of pay restoration which is central to the NIPSA pay claim. We must continue to fight to ensure that the promised money from Westminister is enough to meet all the demands.
To keep the pressure on our politicians it is essential that we send a strong message that we are serious about getting a fair deal for civil servants. NIPSA have taken the decision to call our members in the Civil Service out on strike on 24 January along with our members in the Health Service. This joint action will be a clear message that NIPSA members deserve fair pay and conditions but it will also allow Civil Servants to join the action in defence of the health service for safe staffing. All health unions are proposing to take strike action alongside NIPSA on 24 January.
Trade union action has pushed the politicians to the point of recognising that they need to get back into Government and end the industrial disputes. If they want Government back up and running, they will need the support of Civil Servants. We will not allow Civil Servants to be left behind.
In addition to the one day strike on 24 January, selected members in the Courts Service and the Public Prosecution Service will be taking selective action throughout the month of February. Further details will follow on the detail of this action.
Show your solid support for this action to push for a decent pay increase for us all. It is imperative that all members join the strike action on 24 January to send a strong and clear message to the Minister, the Executive and the Assembly that Civil Servants will not be left behind.
On behalf of PCS I extend the union’s solidarity with our sister union NIPSA for taking more strike action today over pay and conditions. Following the suspension of the Northern Ireland assembly, civil servants have been working as hard as possible to keep government functioning. However instead of being rewarded, they have been taken for granted and forced into continuing their industrial action campaign. The entire trade union movement needs to get behind this strike and help ensure NIPSA members get a just settlement.
General Secretary, PCS.
The Department of Finance has today published the 2019/20 Pay Remit for public sector workers. The announcement of a one per cent increase, with anything above that coming out of departmental efficiency savings, means that the austerity agenda continues with no change to pay policy for 2019/20. Effectively this means that public sector workers whether they be civil servants, heath workers or education workers etc will have their pay increase capped at a below inflation level for the tenth year in a row. This is totally unacceptable.
NIPSA General Secretary, Alison Millar, stated:
“Members in the NICS are currently engaged in industrial action on the issue of pay, terms and conditions and our members in the Health Service will be receiving their ballot papers next week on the issue of pay and safe staffing levels. I am sure this will anger members and strengthen their resolve to fight for decent pay and fair increase.
This is totally unacceptable and does not auger well for industrial relations across the public sector. This is another slap in the face for hard working civil and public servants who have continued to deliver vital public services in the absence of the NI Assembly.
The decision to continue with austerity measures is a political choice rather than an economic necessity. NIPSA will consider carefully our next steps, in consultation with our members, but members can be assured we will be using the General Election as an opportunity to challenge candidates standing in that election about what they will do to ensure that public sector workers get a fair and decent pay increase.”
NIPSA is also raising this matter directly with the NI Select Committee at Westminster.
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.