The 18 January generalised strike action by public servants was very successful.
NIPSA members in all areas rallied to the call. This gives us a strong basis to pursue our goals.
NIPSA represents members in all parts of the public service in Northern Ireland. Currently we are in dispute in the civil service, health service and the Education Authority. We are taking industrial action in all these areas.
In the civil service our action is for pay. In health and education our industrial action is for pay, but the ballots also cover staffing and cuts to services.
NIPSA has engaged with the Secretary of State, the Head of the Civil Service and other senior civil servants, the Assembly political parties - Sinn Fein, DUP, Alliance Party, UUP, SDLP, TUV and PBP - on all these issues.
It is important to note that NIPSA, the wider trade union movement and the public have not yet been provided with a detailed breakdown on the financial package under discussion between the Secretary of State and the political parties.
However, there is sufficient information available for us to say that we believe the current financial package contains three significant problems:
- There is not enough money outlined in the financial package to meet all our members’ current pay claims.
- The allocation is not recurrent, so the money is not there to future proof our pay claims going forward.
- The fiscal floor that is needed is not part of the package and so the budget is not sufficient to properly fund our health and education services on a needs base going forward.
The actions we have taken has resulted in big steps forward and has pushed pay and public services up the political and financial agenda, but it is very important to note that we still have a distance to go.
The coming days may determine what happens next but, in the meantime, NIPSA will continue to roll out its industrial action strategy in all areas.