The Civil Service Executive Committee have given consideration to a Northern Ireland Civil Service (NICS) pay claim for 2020/21 and taking everything into consideration believe we should lodge a pay claim as set out below. The Executive Committee now wish to consult branches on this proposed claim:

  • An above inflation pay increase on pay and allowances;
  • Pay restoration to address pay loss since 2010; and
  • Further scale shortening on all pay points.

The Executive Committee also recommend that we make it clear at the outset of any pay negotiations that NIPSA will not accept any “conditions” being attached to pay.

In examining what should be in the pay claim the Executive Committee examined Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation markers. The Bank of England (BoE) Forecast Summary at May 2020 projected Q2 inflation at 1.7%, with Q2 projections for 2021 at 2.1%. Danske Bank are predicting a slightly lower figure of 1.5%. Overall the trend is for a gradual growth in the rate of CPI inflation around 2% with the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) target rate of 3.1%. The Executive Committee also recognised the unpredictable picture due to Covid-19 and the impact of Brexit.

The Executive Committee also examined public sector pay awards in other jurisdictions as follows:

Sector Award
Scotland – Devolved Administration 2nd consecutive 3% pay for all government workers as of April 2020. Included within this award there are thresholds. It is noted with 20200-21 pay policy will remove the £36,500 pay threshold and provide a guaranteed minimum 3% increase for public sector workers who earn up to £80,000. The increase for those earning £80,000 or more will be limited to £2,000.
Wales The National Assembly for Wales have agreed a long term pay deal that included a 3% historical pay increase and 3% for 2020/21 year for staff earning less than £36,000 per annum and 2% for all other staff. The deal is also linked to the average earnings increase all sectors in Wales and this will run for the next 4 years.
UKCS PCS have proposed a 10% increase with an underpin of £2,400. Prospect and FDA argued that there should be a simple and fair pay settlement for all civil servants which reflects the work they have undertaken during the pandemic. In the UKCS there are approximately 200 separate bargaining units. The UK Government have recently rejected this proposal.
NI Assembly Staff 3% revalorisation of all pay points and 2 point pay scale.
National Joint Council (NJC) – covers EA, NIHE, Local Government, Libraries and other areas in Northern Ireland Initial offer of 2% effective from 1 April 2020 rejected. An improved offer of 2.75% tabled which is under consideration by the NJC Trade Unions.

 

The Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (NIC ICTU) has sought an urgent meeting with the Finance Minister to engage with him on the issue of a Public Sector Pay Remit for Northern Ireland. It is vitally important that NIPSA ensure that the Finance Minister does not set a pay remit for Northern Ireland which would have a negative impact on our ability to collectively bargain on behalf of members.

The Executive Committee have also embarked on a review of the 2019/20 Industrial Action Campaign/Strategy and a separate circular will issue on that seeking the input of branches.

The Executive Committee fully recognise the difficulties branches may have in consulting with members on this pay claim, however they were also of the view that we need to continually test our ability to consult effectively with members on this and other issues.

I would therefore be grateful if your Branch could seek the views of as many members as possible on this proposed claim. The closing date for the consultation will be noon on Friday 26 June 2020. The Executive Committee will meet on Monday 29 June 2020 to consider the outcome of the consultation with a view to lodging the claim in advance of the due date of the claim which is 1 August 2020.

A separate communication will issue to Branch Secretaries to collate the views of members.

Alison Millar
General Secretary