We hope this message finds you well. We are writing to provide you with a crucial update on our ongoing pay claim and the current circumstances impacting our negotiations with the NIAO.

Since the submission of our original pay claim, significant changes have taken place, and unfortunately, not all for the better. The Northern Ireland budget, set by the Secretary of State, has had a substantial impact on our public and civil services, resulting in several departments facing budget challenges. Among these, the NIAO, an independent organisation responsible for ensuring effective financial management and value for money, has been hit particularly hard. The DOF has made cuts to the NIAO's budget, creating an uphill battle for all of us involved.

In response to these challenging circumstances, NIPSA, alongside other trade unions, has been actively fighting against these cuts through industrial action and lobbying our MLAs and MPs. We are committed to standing up for our rights and interests as workers, but we must also recognise the financial and political realities that the NIAO, our negotiating partner, is facing.

When we look beyond our region, we see pay offers that have only been achieved after months of sustained industrial action. Some unions have even had to resort to prolonged strikes in different areas to secure better offers. Achieving a pay offer that comes closer to our original ask would necessitate significant action from all of us.

Considering the financial and political constraints faced by the NIAO, our negotiating partner, we have received an offer of 4.5% from them. In comparison, the National Audit Office has been offered 4%, and the Civil Service in England, after months of sustained industrial action, has been offered 4.5%.

After careful consideration, your union recommends accepting the offer of 4.5% from the NIAO. This decision has not been taken lightly, but we believe it strikes a fair balance, given the challenges they face in the current economic climate.

We understand that this offer might not fully meet our expectations, but it does represent a significant effort on their part given the budgetary constraints they are dealing with.

Now, it is time for you to have your say. A ballot will commence, and you will have two weeks to cast your vote. Your voice matters, and we encourage you to actively participate in this process. Should you have any questions or concerns, we are here to support you and provide the necessary clarification.

In these trying times, your solidarity and commitment to our union are vital. Together, we will continue to fight for our rights and work towards creating a better future for all NIPSA members.

Stay strong and united.

Ryan Wilson
Higher Executive Officer