Thank you all for making 26 April our most successful strike day ever. NIPSA had almost 100 picket lines and we had more members picketing than ever before. It was particularly encouraging to see so many young activists turn out on picket lines.

We also had two very successful rallies and all areas reported a very supportive response from the public. Media coverage was excellent, below this article are some of the main media links.


You will be aware that, in the absence of an Assembly, the Secretary of State has set a punitive budget. The Head of the Civil Service has issued a note to all staff in which she makes clear that the budget is not sufficient to meet all the rising demands including pay awards that reflect the cost of living increases facing you. She has also quite openly stated that the challenges require decisions by elected representatives. This clearly means our dispute will escalate.

Political Campaign

NIPSA is continuing with further rounds of meetings with all the political parties. So far, we have received a very sympathetic response. All the main Assembly parties are supportive of a better pay deal for civil and public servants. They all recognise that a below inflation pay award is a pay cut and that recruitment and retention could become a significant problem for public services. The statement made by the DUP following our meeting is attached.

As part of the wider political strategy I will also be engaging, along with PCS, in meetings with the trade union group of MPs in Westminster to ensure they are aware of the particular circumstances facing Civil Servants here and to ensure our issues are brought to the heart of government.

Next Steps

Members will be aware that the Local Government election will take place on 18 May. Some of you will see canvassers at your door. Please ask your local Councillors what their party will do about civil service pay. Ask your MLA and your MP. We need as much pressure from below as possible.

The Civil Service Executive Committee is continuing to explore all the options open to us. Those options include selective action, a possible escalation of action short of strike action and further strike action. As part of our decision making, we are consulting with our sister trade unions who are also involved in their own challenging pay battles. All of us understand that political decisions will be required to resolve our disputes, as will united action. Further discussions in the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) will take place later this week.

The Civil Service Executive Committee will meet on Monday 15 May to assess options and consider next steps. In the meantime, I would like to reiterate my thanks to all of you for your support and I am particularly grateful for all the hard work of branch activists.

I intend to continue to meet with activists to take their views and I will set up another meeting in the very near future. If you have any questions about any element of the campaign, please raise them with your branch officers.

Carmel Gates
General Secretary
Media Links

Sample of the news coverage of the Strike on 26 April, click on links below. (Please note: these are external links outside the NIPSA website)

DUP Statement

TV Coverage

ITV News: Civil servants say some are using food banks…

BBC NI: Public service workers are also on strike…

RTÉ: Thousands of civil servants also took strike action.

Local Paper Coverage

Belfast Telegraph: Other services are likely to be affected as civil servants and other public sector workers also take part in walk outs…

News Letter: NIPSA boss calls for whole of Northern Irish working class to show solidarity with civil servants

Belfast Live: …teachers and civil servants took part in biggest industrial action in a decade.

Irish News: Hundreds of teachers and civil servants are on strike today

Local Radio Coverage

RTÉ: Biggest strike in over a decade taking place in Northern Ireland today

Downtown/CoolFM: General Secretary of NIPSA Carmel Gates addresses a huge crowd at Belfast’s City

Wider Press Coverage

Independent: NI teachers and civil servants involved in biggest industrial action in a decade

Irish Times: NI teachers and civil servants involved in biggest industrial action in decade

Gazette: NI teachers and civil servants involved in biggest industrial action in a decade

The Herald: NI teachers and civil servants involved in biggest industrial action in a decade