Following the Branch consultation exercise for the various increases in Fixed Rate Allowances agreement was reached as set in our previous article posted on Fixed Rate Allowances.

Management Side have been advised that NIPSA have accepted the final offer as outlined in the Bulletin and have sought to have the new rates and arrears to 1 August 2018 paid as soon as possible.

Alison Millar
General Secretary

NIPSA are currently aware of members experiencing a series of IT difficulties in relation to submitting their applications for both Deputy Principal and Staff Officer posts.  As a result NIPSA have contacted Management Side urgently seeking clarification and Management Side are working to resolve these IT issues with their provider.

NIPSA have pressed Management Side to allow an extension to the deadline for receipt of completed applications for these competitions.  Management Side have indicated they are likely to concede to this request.

Alison Millar
General Secretary

Further to NIPSA Branch Secretary Circulars issued last week I am writing to provide an update to members on the current situation.  Members will be aware that NIPSA sought urgent legal advice with a view to issuing legal proceedings against the NICS on Thursday of last week initially seeking to halt the process and stop the competitions proceeding.  The pre-action protocol letter was issued last Thursday afternoon and the NICS had until 12 noon to respond.  They sought an extension to 2 pm (which was granted) and it then transpired that they argued that they could not withdraw from the significant media and other costs they had already incurred.  This argument would have been made before the Judge and it was likely the Judge would have ruled that in the event of the Judge ruling against NIPSA that NIPSA would have to bear the costs incurred by the NICS.  Following an urgent legal consultation it was decided that given the very significant costs being indicated that we could not risk members' money on this.

However, NIPSA's legal team have responded to the NICS lawyers advising that they have until 9 May to respond to the further issues we have raised.  NIPSA, via our legal team, are reserving our position until then.  Once a more detailed response is received from the NICS lawyers more detailed consideration will be given as to whether to proceed further with a Judicial Review on the lack of consultation.

I want to assure you that we are actively working to protect your interests.  However, notwithstanding the current potential legal action members should apply for the advertised posts.  NIPSA does not wish to put any member at a potential disadvantage by advising you not to apply.

A further bulletin will be issued later in the week.

Alison Millar
General Secretary

Further to Branch Secretary circular issued yesterday I am advising that NIPSA has lodged legal proceedings with the NICS seeking to halt the process due to lack of consultation as required under the Central Whitley provisions.

The NICS Management Side have until 12 noon today to agree to halting the above external competitions.  If this is not agreed to then NIPSA will be seeking an injunction to halt the process.

A further communication will be issued later today.

It is regrettable that NIPSA has been forced to take this unprecedented step. However given the intransigence of Management Side we have been left with no alternative.

Alison Millar
General Secretary

Further to earlier NIPSA communications I can advise NIPSA has received the following pay offer effective from 1 August 2018.  The offer is set out below:

The elements being proposed are as follows: 

  1. all eligible satisfactory performers to receive one step progression with effect from 1 August 2018;

  2. all AA and analogous pay scales to be revalorised by 3%;

  3. all points on all pay scales at AO analogous and above from minimum to maximum to be revalorised by 1.25%;

  4. any staff receiving less than a 1.25% consolidated increase to receive an additional non consolidated, non pensionable payment to bring them up to the equivalent value of 1.25% of their salary at 31 July 2018 (for those in NICS grades who are in receipt of a salary in excess of the maximum, the 1.25% would be based on the scale maximum.  For those on non-NICS pay scales the 1.25% would be limited to 1.25% of the equivalent NICS General Service scale maximum).

This is an extremely disappointing pay offer given the engagement that has taken place over the last number of months both with Management Side and through engagement with a range of political parties.

It is clear that the Public Sector Pay Policy set by the Department of Finance Permanent Secretary has had a significant downward pressure on any negotiations that have taken place over the past few months.  In fact given the pay remit set by the Permanent Secretary, DoF left little wriggle room for any negotiations to realistically take place.

As members will be aware the Public Sector Pay Policy and in turn the Pay Remit for the NICS was set with a limit of 1%.  The Management Side have indicated that the overall package as set out above is worth 2.05% on the NICS paybill.

The Civil Service Group Executive Committee has considered the pay offer and is recommending rejection of the offer.  In recommending rejection of the offer the Executive Committee are also recommending that NIPSA immediately move to seek the necessary approvals to conduct an industrial action ballot.  The industrial action ballot will cover not just the meagre and insulting pay offer - making Northern Ireland Civil Servants the worst treated public sector workers in Northern Ireland, but also the decision by Management Side to seek to move to external corporate competitions for Staff Officer and Deputy Principal posts without serious and meaningful negotiation with NIPSA.  A separate bulletin is being issued to cover the detail of NIPSA's response to this issue.

It is clear the landscape has significantly changed and the NICS Board and Management Side have sought to seriously undermine the agreed industrial relations processes.  NIPSA and our members cannot stand idly by and accept this meagre pay offer together with other serious attacks on your terms and conditions without serious and meaningful resistance.

Branches are now asked to immediately organise a Branch Meeting to discuss the offer and the other attacks on your pay, terms and conditions and to engage with members on a campaign to deliver meaningful opposition to the offer.

If you require a speaker for your Branch Meeting please contact either This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. who will liaise with the Executive Committee members and HQ Officials to provide a speaker.  Please give as much notice as possible to ensure a speaker can be secured.

The Civil Service Group Executive Committee Pay Campaign Sub-Committee will be meeting regularly to drive forward the campaign.

Alison Millar
General Secretary

Further to NIPSA Bulletin B-3-19 issued on 14 March 2019 I am writing to advise members on the actions taken to date.

NIPSA met with the Management Side on 4 April 2019 and one of the key issues on the agenda for the meeting was the proposal to move to an external competition for Deputy Principal and Staff Officer.  Members will be aware from the earlier bulletin that NIPSA demanded that these proposals were put on hold until a formal meeting was held.  It is very disappointing and frustrating to report that the Management Side really had no response and advised they would need to speak to the Strategic HR Director for NICSHR.

It is clear that Management Side are intending to proceed irrespective of the legitimate concerns raised by TUS a decision which has rightfully angered NIPSA members.

NIPSA is aware that Management Side continue to prepare at a pace to externally recruit at Staff Officer and Deputy Principal levels which again is in breach of the principles of Central Whitley.

As a direct result I have written to the Strategic HR Director NICSHR advising that TUS wish to register disagreement on the proposal for the External Corporate Competitions and that we now expect these competitions to be put on hold.

NIPSA have agreed that there is supply at DP level arising out of the 2013 competition.  While NIPSA accepts there may be some equality issues given the length of time since the competition we have argued that given there are 250 on the list and there are almost 300 vacancies at this level then this list could be used in tandem with an internal recruitment exercise.  To date Management Side continue to reject this argument.

TUS were also alarmed to hear that in at least one Department (DfC) Management Side were seeking expressions of interest for volunteers AO (Operational Delivery).  It is NIPSA's view that members should not become involved in this process as it would undermine our objectives of retaining one Grade at AO level which is a primary entry level to the NICS.

Given the seriousness of this and other issues NIPSA has written to the Head of the Civil Service regarding consultation and negotiation and ongoing breaches of Central Whitley.  An urgent meeting has been sought with HOCS and/or the NICS so that we can address our concerns at the highest level.

Further bulletins will issue in due course.

Alison Millar

General Secretary