Further to the posting of 19 December 2018 a number of regional pay meetings have taken place. The purpose of these meetings was to update representatives on the negotiations to date and to seek their views of how best to respond and develop the campaign in order to achieve a fair and just outcome.

It is clear that while the NIPSA claim is fully justified there is significant work to do to raise its profile with members and ensure members are fully informed and engaged in the campaign supporting it. All Branches are therefore asked to organise a Branch meeting to discuss the campaign with members. All Branches have been allocated a Civil Service Group Executive Committee member, who will attend the Branch meeting and will assist with all issues during the campaign to deliver a decent pay increase for members.

A copy of the Branch allocation document is published on the NIPSA website. If you have any difficulty in accessing your Civil Service Group Executive Committee allocated liaison person please contact 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. at NIPSA Headquarters.

It is clear that the pay remit for the NICS pay claim, determined by the Department of Finance Permanent Secretary, of 1% is totally unacceptable. As members will already know the claim is fully justified. Leaving aside increases in national insurance contributions and pension increases members are significantly worse off than they were in 2013. The ‘Same Old Limits’ publication demonstrated the following:

Grade

Loss Since 2013

AA

£967

AO

£1223

EO2

£1357

EO1

£1497

SO

£1710

DP

£2170

Grade 7

£2845

Grade 6

£3440

I Am Worth It

The Executive Committee fully recognise that all members do not believe or feel valued for the vital work they do. Members are worth at least the 7% set out in the pay claim. They have held the NICS together through very difficult times, with no Assembly, with 3,200 less staff since the Voluntary Exit Scheme and have delivered many reforms during the last few years. It is therefore clear ALL members are worth 7%.

Brexit

Just prior to Christmas the Head of the NICS issued a circular to all staff seeking volunteers to work as part of the NICS command, control and co-ordination (C3) structures which may be required in the event of a ‘No Deal’ exit from the European Union. NIPSA was advised that up to 2,000 volunteers would be needed, yet we understand less than 1,000 volunteered and many who did volunteer were not in the right grades or could not be released from their existing roles. NIPSA did state categorically at the time that the NICS could not expect staff to volunteer to be available 24/7 without the recognition of additional remuneration over and above existing terms and conditions. This was rejected.

The clear signal therefore was that you were not worth it! It is not surprising that in the past few days the NICS have been forced to offer a ‘completion payment’ of up to £1,500. This however is based on the length of the C3 period and other factors. In reality this is a small sum of money for the disruption any individual would have to endure in their personal lives. NIPSA believe that you are worth much more than this. It is clear that the HOCS and the Department of Finance Permanent Secretary who are in control of the purse strings on this believe that staff will volunteer against the backdrop of little or no pay increases. This is not acceptable – Management Side need to realise that our members are worth much more and they all deserve a decent and meaningful pay increase – not 1% or 1.5%.

Member Engagement with Elected Representatives

In the normal set of circumstances the Finance Minister would set the pay remit for the NICS. In the absence of the NI Assembly this has not been the case. It is therefore imperative that we raise the issue of the poor treatment of NI Civil Servants with all elected representatives. Without a Minister in place we must hold all MLAs to account.

In the Autumn of 2017 we were told the ‘Pay Cap’ had gone. The Prime Minister also told us at the Tory Party Conference that ‘Austerity is Over’. Obviously that is not the case for NI Civil Servants.

A letter has been prepared (click on the link at the bottom of the page) which I would encourage all NIPSA members to send to their respective MLAs (click on the icon to the right to find your MP/MLA). It is also the intention of the Civil Service Executive Committee, to organise lobbies of MLAs in their constituency offices. The letter writing exercise will form part of that lobby. It is therefore important that all members are encouraged to play their part in this very important campaign.

NIPSA centrally have also written to all political parties seeking engagement on the issue.

Other Civil Service Trade Unions (UK)

NIPSA continues to engage with the other UK Civil Service Unions, FDA, Prospect and PCS on a wider strategy to build links were possible. NIPSA will, of course, devise and lead our own campaign.

It is remarkable that the pay remit for NI Civil Servants was set at 1%. For UKCS Departments the pay remit set by the Cabinet Office was 1.5%. While 1.5% would not have been acceptable it is another example of the worth which is placed on every NI Civil Servant at this already difficult time.

Next Steps

A further formal pay meeting will be held on Thursday 21 February. NIPSA’s Civil Service Executive Committee is meeting the following day (Friday 22 February) to consider the outcome of the further pay negotiations and our next steps. It is important that members know that all responses to the current offer on the table need to be considered. This includes an industrial action strategy. It is not something the Civil Service Executive Committee has taken lightly and will be considered in more detail at the meeting on 22 February 2019.

Branch Meetings

It is therefore vital, now that the Regional Pay Meetings have concluded that all Branches organise pay meetings in the next 2-3 weeks to ensure that members are fully engaged in the issues directly impacting on them. Your Civil Service Executive Committee Representative will be present at those meetings to address the issues for members.

Campaign Material

Further campaign material will be available later this week to seek to engage members. It is also likely that protests/events will be organised in the near future to highlight the poor treatment of civil servants. Further information will be issued following the Civil Service Executive Committee on Friday.

Attachments:
Download this file (Speakers-CS-Branches.pdf)Speakers[ ]86 kB
Download this file (Letter-to-MLAs.pdf)Letter to MP/MLAs[ ]16 kB