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.