NIPSA has written to its 9,500 members working within the HSC in Northern Ireland, canvassing whether they would be prepared to be balloted formally on industrial action over the continuing absence of any pay award for 2018/2019 and beyond.

3 year deals, including a refresh of the Agenda For Change Framework and a pay uplift, have been agreed in England, Scotland and Wales, backdated to April 2018. These deals range from 6.5% to 9% over 3 years. Money has been made available by the Treasury to fund a pay deal in Northern Ireland.

NIPSA, along with the other health Trade Unions in Northern Ireland, has been in discussions with the Department of Health about a refresh of the agenda for change framework and a pay uplift since June 2018. 2 meetings were also held with the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Finance. Due to a lack of progress the trade unions proposed an interim solution whereby Band 1 would be abolished and all staff would receive a 3% pay uplift backdated to 1 April 2018 as payment on account.

The Trade Unions met Department of Health officials and employers on 9 November 2018 to learn that a unilateral decision had been made as to the outcome of any pay deal here. A financial bid to the Department of Finance had been prepared and submitted on that basis. This bid fell well short of the interim proposal put to the Department and employers on 26 September 2018.

This demonstrates a lack of respect for the Joint Negotiating and Consultative Forum, Partnership Working, Collective Leadership, Co-Production and Co-Design and Trade Unions as representatives of staff employed in Health and Social Care. Following due consideration, the collective Trade Unions and Staff Side Organisations determined that no further progress could be made at this time and that we should consult our members about a ballot for industrial action. The consultation ballot was launched prior to Monday 12 November 2018 and members will have until Friday 23 November 2018 to indicate whether they are prepared to be balloted on taking industrial action in pursuit of a fair pay award.

Discussions with the Department and other officials have been discontinued until the outcome of the consultative ballot is known. Further developments will be reported.

This issue broke yesterday evening, Patricia Quinn and I attended a briefing very late this afternoon at BSO. I was the only Joint Secretary in attendance but we were instrumental in getting them to do this briefing for TUS/staff to at least contextualise what has happened.

I would be grateful if you can circulate this as a matter of urgency to NIPSA members across the service. I contacted the media  and we may get some further coverage tomorrow morning but my reading and summary of events is as follows:

A further update to our post of August 6th. Attached below and available to download further correspondence between Andrew Dawson Director of Workforce Policy (Acting) HSC and Trade Union Side Joint Secretaries. TUSJS letter to Permanent Secretary Ms Susan Gray. HSC Workforce Policy Directorate correspondence on AfC pay arrangements 2017/18 and AfC Staff Scales March 2015 to March 2018. 

NIPSA HSC Pay Update: Agenda for Change (Refresh) Framework Agreement – Inclusive of Payscale Restructuring for HSC Northern Ireland

This posting is to bring members up to date regarding NIPSA’s position on the “Agenda for Change (Refresh) Framework Agreement,” which has been used by the Conservative Government to drive through a 3 year pay deal for the NHS staff in England.

This process has caused much misinformation and speculation across the Health and Social Care (HSC) system in Northern Ireland since it was announced in England a number of months ago.

More recently NIPSA members will have seen press coverage of NHS staff in England claiming that they have been “duped” by this particular deal.

This posting aims to do 3 things:

  • Firstly, provide accurate, factual information on the current state of play in relation to pay for NIPSA members in the HSC sector in Northern Ireland.
  • Secondly, to outline why NIPSA has come to the conclusion that the NHS England Agreement is, in our view, not fit for purpose.
  • Thirdly, to put NIPSA’s position on Pay and Agenda for Change related issues on the record.

NIPSA the leading public service trade union in Northern Ireland has voiced concerns over the new AfC Framework which has been agreed in England and Wales.

Kevin McCabe, Assistant Secretary, NIPSA commented:

“NIPSA acknowledges that the AfC Framework has been agreed in England. This however does not mean it will be implemented in Northern Ireland.

NIPSA is currently considering all aspects of the Framework which could reduce terms and conditions of our members. This is not acceptable to NIPSA. It will therefore be necessary to consider if and how this or elements of this would be implemented in Northern Ireland.

A pay circular was agreed between HSC trade unions and HSC employers for the 2017/18 pay arrangements for staff covered by the Agenda for Change (AfC) terms and conditions of service. The Department of Health has accepted the NHS Pay Review Body’s recommendations of a 1% increase to all AfC pay points from 1 April 2017 and to an adjustment, of pay point 1 so that it is above the 2017/18 level of the National Minimum Wage (NMW).